YouTube stands out as a vital resource for emerging artists looking to expand their fanbase. It’s not solely about uploading music videos, but a full on opportunity for music promotion, enabling you to connect with a broader audience without relying on gatekeepers. Plus, with the advent of YouTube Shorts, it combines the essence of a traditional video platform with the appeal of TikTok, offering you an innovative space to showcase your creativity and build your fanbase.
Whether you’re covering songs, or putting out your own music, it is essential you build your niche market and crowd. By putting your own spin on something new or old you can create a following and fanbase that will launch yourself into music success. If you’re already creating content and looking for tips on how to optimize your SEO, look here.
Below are seven examples of different artists and how they did it. Please note that these artists were not made by YouTube alone, but heavily assisted by it:
Jensen McRae gained viral attention for her viral parody of a Phoebe Bridgers song, but she is much more than a one time viral sensation. The LA based singer-songwriter has been writing tracks tinged with vulnerability for years now about her experience as a young person of color in America. She uses her Youtube as a musical and personal outlet, sharing vlogging and Q&A content with her fans and her original music and cover songs. Her content is raw, real, and true to herself.
Tip: Place your strongest or most relevant/timely video as the pinned video on your channel. As you can see on Jensen’s channel, she has a beautiful song off of her debut EP Who Hurt You. Some artists also create “channel introductions” to welcome visitors to their page. These videos immediately grab the attention of the page visitor and increase views to the pinned video!
Pinegrove is an American rock band that incorporate elements of emo, country, and alt-rock into their music. In their early career, the band stuck to angsty self releases, but in recent years, they’ve been touring and taking on the world with Rough Trade Records. Pinegrove often uses their YouTube channel for promotional teaser content as a way to build hype and a coordinated brand around their new releases. The visually stunning trailers for their single releases and the acoustic sessions they posted earned them thousands of views and perfectly built their soft boy brand. This then allows for a perfect segway to premiere a track via YouTube after promoting the trailers on the platform and other socials. Learn more about how to premiere a track on YouTube here.
Tip: Creating formal “series” of content is a fantastic way to motivate yourself to create and amp up your audience. Pinegrove put together their 10 part “Command + S” series as a way to commemorate the making of their 3rd studio album and share their creative process. The videos themselves were haphazard vlogs that gave a real insight into the artists daily lives, but giving them a cohesive title meant that the content made sense to the viewer.
Toronto based grandson creates politically charged alternative rock. Both himself and his alternate ego, the antagonist named “X”, confront harsh realities we all face in this charged political climate. His YouTube channel offers livestreams, behind the scenes, and podcast episodes, and demonstrates how successful an artist can be in diversifying their content.
Tip: While we love grandson’s content, we actually have a small critique! When creating cover tiles for your YouTube videos, make sure to include relevant information on the actual still image. As you can see below, grandson has used the same image for his series of live episodes. While this is useful to indicate a cohesive video series, you can still use the same branding image with putting the title or an eye-catching photo or description on the video itself such as Pinegrove did above.
British singer songwriter Celeste creates undeniably ethereal music. Her career began back in 2014 providing vocals for notable electronic artists such as Avicii, Tieks, and Real Lies, but her debut album didn’t come out until 2021 (following 2017 and 2019 EPs). In-between, she has been self publishing content on Soundcloud and YouTube. Her voice is almost as awe-inspiring as the fact that so much of the music she has created was self produced. Reminiscent of the likes of Amy Winehouse or Adele, she is a young powerhouse both in sound and in social media prowess.
Tip: Make sure your headers and profile picture coordinate with your upcoming release promotion. As you can see for Celeste, her debut album just dropped.
Luke James Shaffer
Though Luke James Shaffer is a part of the Cyber PR Artist Fam, we are unbiased when we say that his YouTube promotion skills are off the charts for a totally indie musician. His sound combines alternative, folk, pop, and soul to result in a beautiful acoustic sound that is completely fresh. Since 2011, Luke has been using his YouTube channel to feature his forays into looped cover compositions, have fun, and show his personality. This dedicated hard work has earned him over 16k subscribers. If you want to learn more about his journey and how to stand out on YouTube, watch our full Q&A with him here.
Tip: Find your niche and be consistent!! (are you seeing a theme here?) In addition to his original music, Luke creates incredible looped covers that resonate with viewers and showcases his talent. He also posts consistently on a weekly basis. What do you excel at and how can you post about it frequently?
Dijon is an LA based artist who has found a way to captivate a huge audience on YouTube with his raw, unique, folksy R&B tracks and honest lyrics. He recently dropped his latest album, “Absolutely”, and has created a full live experience of this album for fans to see on YouTube. His high production, hard hitting songs from this album stand alone as he strips them down to gritty, home style live videos with a full band alongside him. On his YouTube you can find both official music videos of many of these songs, in addition to these live videos as well. The way these live videos are created are unlike anything the music industry has ever seen, with shifting cuts, and gut-wrenching vocals.
Tip: To push audiences further to your music and other social media, it is a great idea to have both official music videos as well as live videos as well. Dijon also did a great job organizing these said videos by creating separate video playlists where you can find specifically live covers, demos, and official music videos. This makes it easy for consumers to digest all the content that artists such as Dijon release along with a new project.
Jazmine Sullivan is a Philadelphia raised R&B artist who has found a way to emotionally bring her fans together through YouTube as the main platform alongside her latest album release, “Heaux Tales.” On her YouTube, you can find Sullivan has created an entire YouTube series called, “Heaux Tales Discussions.” These short videos are round table discussions with Jazmine herself, as well as a group of other women sharing their experiences in relationships and the female perspective navigating hardship within relationships. These honest conversations in conjunction with this latest album release give the listener an even larger insight into the artist’s experiences, and what inspired this album as a whole. Be sure to check these videos out and see how they relate to the tracks themselves on her latest album.
Tip: Create a separate playlist for videos all relating to one specific release. Jazmine does a good job of organizing her page to make it clear for her audience the best way to consume her content. She titled this playlist “Heaux Tales Discussions,” which is helpful for her fans to go directly from her album to watching these honest, heartfelt clips.
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