YouTube is no doubt one of the oldest platforms where artists have been sharing their music and growing a fanbase. Since 2005, content creators have been sharing videos, while music lovers use the platform to listen to their favorite tracks and discover new music. YouTube was popular before streaming music services took over, giving listeners an alternative to downloading. It still remains a top platform where people consume music on the Internet and where artists can launch their careers.
In 2021, YouTube launched the beta-version of a new short-format video, YouTube Shorts, which has now become more popular as the trend of shorter formats thrives across all social networks. The success of TikTok and Instagram reels are proof that the short-format works: it grabs the attention of the viewer in a digital space where content is now endless. YouTube Shorts provide an excellent opportunity for musicians and artists to promote their own music effectively. By leveraging the power of this new format, artists can showcase their creativity, connect with a vast audience, and generate buzz around their music. In this article, we will explore the potential of YouTube Shorts as a promotional tool for musicians and how you can use it effectively to increase visibility and grow your fanbase.
1. What are YouTube Shorts?
If you’re just arriving to the party, let’s first explain what YouTube Shorts actually are! YouTube Shorts are short-form vertical videos that can be up to 60 seconds long. They are designed to provide a quick and engaging way for creators to share content on the platform. Similar to TikTok and Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts allow users to create and consume bite-sized videos that capture attention and encourage interaction. They can also be used as a tool for music discovery: a song that is used in a Short that goes viral can easily get a huge boost on music-streaming platforms. Without even knowing it, we listen to music when we don’t even plan on it.
YouTube Shorts offer a range of creative tools and features to enhance the content of your video. Users can add songs to their Short, apply filters and effects, and utilize features like speed controls and timers. The vertical format of Shorts is optimized for mobile viewing, which makes it easy for artists to create videos directly on their phones!
YouTube Shorts have their own dedicated section within the YouTube app, making it convenient for people to discover new videos to watch and thus, new channels to follow. The Shorts section showcases a feed of vertical videos from various creators, providing a seamless and immersive experience for viewers.
2. How do I use YouTube Shorts for music promotion?
Unlike longer videos, YouTube Shorts can be used for music promotion by taking advantage of the format to captivate the attention of YouTube users. The type of content that may work for a longer YouTube video may not work for a Short. Shorts are an ideal format to create teasers and previews of upcoming music releases, showcase snippets of live performances, or jump on trending challenges. Your goal is to captivate the viewers attention within the first 3 seconds! Create content that will entice them to go to your channel and even more so, subscribe. By being consistent with your uploads, you can grow your community and invite fans to listen to your music online or watch your music videos. Nowadays, there is a lot of crossover between all the social networks, music streaming services included, and artists can really benefit from having a strong presence across the board. Not every social network has the same audience, so you need to find the one that is right for you and go all in! Maybe YouTube Shorts will be the place you find the most listeners.
Important: If you want to be able to add your own music to your YouTube Short, you need to make sure that your digital music distributor has made it available to YouTube music. Usually this is the case, as even indie distributors like Tunecore and CD Baby will distribute your music to YouTube automatically. If you want to learn how to get your songs across online music streaming services, read our article on the topic here!
3. Get in touch with YouTube channel curators on Groover
If you’re just getting started and don’t have much of a following on YouTube yet, you can get in touch with YouTube channel curators on Groover. There are lots of YouTube playlist curators with large followings on their channels. Getting your music featured on one of these curated playlists could bring you new subscribers and really boost your visibility. Some of these channels have started using the Shorts feature to share snippets of their favorite music to their community. For 2 Grooviz, or 2 euros, you can pitch your music to a music influencer of your choosing and get a guaranteed response within 7 days. For independent artists, Groover is the best way to get your music heard and grow your fanbase organically. Artists from all music and genres can find the industry professionals that are adapted to them, they just have to define their criteria. Check out our list of top YouTube channel curators on the platform who are looking to discover new artists.
4. How to make successful YouTube Shorts and grow your fanbase
There are certain tips and tricks you can use when making your YouTube Shorts to help grow your fanbase. Like any social media platform, there is an algorithm that favors certain videos over others. The algorithm for long form videos on YouTube works differently than the algorithm for the Shorts. How well a Short performs is dictated by whether or not users watch the video or skip ahead. The more people that watch your Short, the more your video will be pushed onto the home page of other YouTube users. It’s a snowball effect that is common in other algorithms used on streaming services like Spotify, Apple music, Napster, Amazon music, Tidal, Google play, and more. Here are some tips on how to make successful YouTube Shorts to captivate the viewer from the start:
4.1 Pick the best image for your video thumbnail
A good video thumbnail can make a big difference. If you want people to watch your video, you first have to give them a reason to click. Choose a still from your video that is clear and high-quality– no blurry screenshots please! Showcase the main subject right away: usually this will be a person (the artist) or an interesting visual that serves as the focal point. You want people to quickly understand what the video is going to be about. Attention spans are getting shorter, so be smart about making a good first impression! Video thumbnails with vibrant colors and contrast are usually more effective in grabbing the users attention. If you feel like it is necessary, you can incorporate text into your thumbnail to provide additional context and entice the viewer in.
When uploading your Shorts, pay attention to the titles, descriptions, and hashtags to optimize them for best results. Use relevant keywords, including genre, artist name, and relevant descriptors, to ensure that your content appears in relevant searches and recommendations. This will increase the chances of your Shorts being discovered by viewers interested in your style of music.
4.3 Keep what works, throw away what doesn’t
The best way to take advantage of YouTube Shorts is to keep what works and throw away what doesn’t. Essentially, this means testing out different Shorts and analyzing the performance of your videos. Which of your Shorts got the most views and why? Was it the thumbnail that worked well? Or the type of content? Pay attention to the click-through rates and viewer retention metrics to identify what works best for you. Once you figure out what type of content works best for your Shorts, you can upload consistent videos to strengthen your visual identity and branding. This helps establish a cohesive and professional image for your artist channel!
4.4 Engage with your community
Don’t forget to engage with your community by responding to comments and finding other Shorts that you like. Encourage them to subscribe to your channel or your Spotify page to keep up to date on new releases. Share a link to your music website where they can buy CDs or other merch. To make the most out of YouTube Shorts, you should learn how the platform works by discovering other artists creating content you find interesting. You can even take inspiration from them for your own videos or collaborate on a Short together! Try out some remixes of music by other YouTube creators, or asking fellow songwriters to write lyrics for your instrumental beats.
4.5 Don’t just follow what’s trending, find out what makes you authentic
It’s easy to follow trends nowadays and potentially go viral. It’s smart to do so, but make sure that you are also creating content that is authentic and will keep people coming back for more. Give your viewers a reason to get off of YouTube Shorts and go listen to your music catalog out of the millions of songs available to them. Usually this happens through the art of good storytelling: by conveying a unique universe and strong moods, you can invite the audience into your world. This is mostly done with visuals, but also through the music itself. Are you a folk singer in the French countryside? Paint this picture for your audience. Maybe you’re a classical-music composer that’s testing out hip-hop loops for the first time- have fun with it!
5. YouTube Shorts music promotion: find your groove!
Like any social platform, what works for one artist may not work for another. Use YouTube Shorts music promotion as a way to find your groove and get creative! Putting in the time and effort to make quality content that is authentic to who you are as an artist can make a big difference. Artists have more agency than ever before to grow their following on their own. By growing your following on these platforms using these tools, you can open a lot of doors to new opportunities. Maybe a radio curator saw your YouTube Short and wants to broadcast your music on radio stations! Record labels often keep an eye on artists that are actively posting on these platforms as well. Keep in mind that the music industry moves in the direction of its listeners: connect with them and the rest will follow.