Music is one of the most popular topics on YouTube and starting a music channel is THE new way for anyone to break into the industry
I’ve considered myself pretty successful on YouTube, growing my channel to over 215,000 subscribers and earning hundreds of thousands in the last two years but that’s nothing compared to most music channels.
YouTube is a natural space for music labels and groups. The Indian promoter T-Series was the first channel to reach over 100 million subscribers and has reached over 113 billion views for its artists. Even relatively unknown groups are able to use a YouTube channel to hit the bigtime. South Korean group BlackPink has racked up over 10 billion views and 40 million fans in less than four years.
Look at the list of top 50 global YouTube channels published on Tubefilter in any give week and at least 15 of them will be music channels and record labels.
I couldn’t tell you the difference between an Oboe and a Piccolo but I can tell you, EVERY music group needs a YouTube channel…and I’m going to help you get started!
Why Every Music Group and Record Label Needs a YouTube Channel
Like just about every other topic, YouTube has helped flatten the music industry. Instead of needing a massive organization with hundreds of people, two or three people can manage an entire record label around a YouTube channel. Instead of struggling for years to get noticed and get signed, an artist can launch a seven-figure career without having to work every dive bar from New York to LA.
Your reasons for starting a YouTube music channel are going to depend whether you’re a label or an artist but a few will apply to either.
First, the money! While YouTube ads only average about a third of a cent, that’s still a few grand for every million views your videos rack up. And that’s nothing compared to the money you can make by linking up your videos to an online store for singles and merch.
Think about it. Even if just 5% of your viewers click through a link in your videos and just 2% of those buys a single for $5.99 – and you rack up an easily achievable 50 million views a year…that’s $300,000 a year and on numbers that many groups will easily beat.
Just as valuable though is the publicity you get with a YouTube channel. Viewership in the 18-49 demographic has dropped by 50% on MTV since 2011 and the network’s popular annual awards show drew just 434,000 viewers last year.
Compare that with Madilyn’s song about hate comments on her channel…yep, she wrote a song about hate comments that has reached 12.5 million views, over a million likes and 250,000 comments! Instant publicity and she didn’t have to do a single press tour.
How to Start a YouTube Music Channel
Actually starting a music channel on YouTube is the easy part. I’ll outline the steps below along with some tips and link to a quick-start guide.
- Set up your channel and About page. Setting up your YouTube channel isn’t going to make the videos go viral but it’s one of those critical steps that make you legit. You’ll start building a community by sharing what you’re about and will give people a reason to stick around.
Start with your About page and take advantage of the space. Think about the shared beliefs in people you want to attract and how you want to build that community.
- Spend some time learning to use video editing software like Camtasia or Final Cut Pro. Just because your music video isn’t going to the execs on MTV doesn’t mean it can’t look like it.
- Make sure you have somewhere you can record without background noise. This is probably the hardest part for music artists. It helps to have a good directional microphone. I know more than a few that just record in a traditional studio then dub their voices over video.
- Learn the basics for uploading your video including creating a title and thumbnail that get clicks. This is probably the biggest gap I see between successful music channels and all the rest.
- Learn how to promote your videos on and off-YouTube!
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Tips to Promote Music on YouTube
Three tricks will help you promote music videos and your channel on YouTube and we’re not talking about the obvious stuff like ads and social media. Putting a budget behind ads can help but the real growth is in these three hacks.
- Collab Videos! If you don’t have a following yet, team up with people that do. Search for artists on YouTube, especially those in your area, and email to see if they’d like to do a collab video. It can be a new song or even a cover.
- Ask people to subscribe! The official channel for Kiss has just one million subscribers against over 520 million views…that’s less than a fifth of a percent of the viewers clicking that little sub button! Now compare that against my 215,000 subscribers on just 9.65 million views for a 2.22% subscription rate…11-times more because I ask people to subscribe.
Now obviously you can’t stop your song to ask people to subscribe but you can make graphics for your video and ask people in a special message before or afterwards.
- Another great way to promote music videos on YouTubes is by getting added to playlists. Search for song playlists and email the channel to see if you can get a song added. Create your own playlists on your channel and offer to add other artist’s songs.
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How to Make Money with Music on YouTube
How do you make money with music on YouTube? Isn’t it all free?
YouTube turns regular people into millionaires every day and I’m not just talking about the ads. If you treat your channel like a business, you’ll find all the ideas you need to make money even with a small channel.
- Add a link in the video description to your online store selling hidden tracks and special editions. Sell memorabilia and signed copies.
- Merch! From t-shirts to posters and just about anything else, use t-shirt printing services like T-Spring or contract manufacturing to make more on your virtual tour.
- You can now sign up people as members of your channel for $4.99 and offer private or pre-release videos, merch and even custom emojis.
- For the traditionalists out there, use your YouTube music channel to promote and sell tickets to concerts and other events. Upload a few dozen songs on your channel and you’ll have an international audience that will sell out venues!
If I didn’t have a voice like Gilbert Godfried, I think a music channel would have been my first choice to launch my YouTube career…ah well, my loss. With a little talent and some planning, you can start a YouTube music channel and make more than you ever imagined possible.