Use YouTube for more than music videos

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Creating a video blog – AKA vlog – on YouTube is one creative way to connect to people, develop a persona, and ultimately promote your music

This article was written by Jonathan Bond at Music Gateway.

Like expressing yourself? Looking for a way to connect with your fans instantly? Let’s talk about YouTube. It’s the biggest video sharing site on the web, and since its launch in 2005, it has developed its own culture and has spawned a variety of communities within the deep oceans of the platform. Be it a music video or vlog, a television re-run or the viral video of the day, 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and over six billion hours of video are watched every month.

For the purposes of this post, we’ll break YouTube users into three categories:

1. Casual YouTube Viewers. These are people who will watch a video on YouTube if a friend has recommended it or if they just have to watch that audition on “Britain’s Got Talent” again. They know what YouTube is but really only use it occasionally and for those specific one-time videos.

2. Fan Girls/Boys. Usually aged between 13-18, they know YouTube like the back of their hands and constantly keep up with their favorite YouTuber’s every video/move! They are where the majority of views and comments come from.

3. YouTubers. These are the content creators. They could be a company, a musician or band, sketch/comedy channel, individual vloggers, etc. If successful, YouTubers can gain many subscribers who will be notified every time a new video is uploaded. Some YouTuber’s have many hundreds or thousands of subscribers.

Within the music industry there is always talk about engaging with your fans on a personal level. Nowadays, fans want to know EVERYTHING about a band/artist. What they are doing, their favorite color, do they wear onesie’s, what’s their cat’s name… you name it, they want to know.

King of the vlog
Alex Day has charted in the UK with no record label, thanks to his popular vlog posts and huge subscriber base.

I’m not suggesting you need to reveal your innermost, darkest secrets, but to illuminate how YouTube can help musicians, let’s look at a “Nerimon,” more widely known as Alex Day. Alex Day has been on YouTube since its early days. Through YouTube, he has been very successful though his use of a mixture of different types of videos. He typically posts a vlog, a humorous clip where he talks to his audience about whatever he wants to. His subscribers love him and are loyal to him, and through this connection, his fans also know he is a musician.

Now it is important to point out that liking a YouTuber’s vlog doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy their other endeavors, including music videos, and in the end a song is a song and you either like it or you don’t. But through the connection Alex Day has made with his subscribers through YouTube, he notified them about his single “Forever Yours” and asked them to download the track. He clearly has a lot of fans of his music, as well, but what is worth pointing out is that a large amount of his fans paid for the single, as opposed to peer-to-peer file sharing. Out of his 800,000 subscribers, 100,000 of them downloaded the single and sent “Forever Yours” into the UK Top 40 at No. 4 without any label help. Amazing!

This shows just how YouTube can be used to create loyalty and ultimately super fans who actually want to buy your songs/merch and go to your gigs because A) they love you, and B) they want to help you out. They know so much about you, have been entertained by you, have been touched by your music, and now they feel so involved with your little world that they want to give something back in any way they can.

This is what I would like to inspire you to do. Connect with your fans in an honest, entertaining way. Make them smile and they will return that favor. The power of vlogging is one that can be harnessed. Six quick points to vlogging:

  • Be engaging
  • Entertain your audience
  • Keep your videos short and snappy
  • Don’t reveal personal information you wouldn’t want everyone to know
  • Unless it’s your part of your artistic persona, avoid topics such as religion and politics or you can lose folks who may connect with your music but not your social/political viewpoints
  • Upload regularly with new and engaging videos

YouTube is also a great way to be discovered/showcase your talent. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Covers. As a musician on YouTube, one way to be discovered is to cover popular songs. Put your own unique interpretation on the song and entertain! If they like your cover enough, people will listen to your original music – which means you need to make sure you actually have your own music up on YouTube, as well. Make sure you get all the proper licenses if you ever plan to post a song you don’t have the rights to.

2. Lyric Videos. When releasing a new song, a great way to generate some buzz around the single is to be inventive with a lyric video. These can be fun to watch and are low budget. Why not involve your fans with this and ask them to make you one in a competition?

3. Music Videos. This is pretty standard, though it requires more investment in money and time. Put up professional music videos showcasing your best songs. Remember, YouTube is the main source for music videos, so this is your chance to look professional.

4. Sketches. This isn’t for everyone, but if you can make your audience laugh, it is a great way to show your personality and engage your audience.

5. Tutorials. Your fans may want to learn your songs! Upload a video and show them just how to play that solo or do that drum fill!

6. Vlogs. Let down your hair, show your personality, and engage with your fans. Let them know about your life and any important information you want them to know. Connect with your fans on a personal level, and most importantly, have fun.

Music Gateway is an innovative new business platform for music professionals offering FREE project work opportunities globally. The site already has 9,000+ registered users comprising of musicians, singers, producers, record labels, publishers, and studios. Music Gateway aims to level the playing field for everyone in the industry by providing a simple and easy to use platform that generates a wealth of opportunities for professionals. Find Music Gateway on Twitter @Music_Gateway and Facebook. Find out more and start collaborating at www.MusicGateway.net.

Image of man with video camera via ShutterStock.com.

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