Musician learning about the YouTube algorithm

How the YouTube Algorithm Works

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

If you want to promote your music and reach a wide audience, YouTube is an essential platform to exploit. Despite the rise of streaming audio platforms and social media sites like TikTok, YouTube remains relevant for music discovery, offering artists an opportunity to showcase their talents and engage with fans.

If you want to promote your music on YouTube to drive potential fans to your YouTube channel, understanding how the YouTube algorithm works is pretty useful.

Factors that affect the YouTube algorithm

There are several factors that go into how YouTube ranks video searches. Overall, the concept behind the algorithm is to identify what kind of content a viewer is looking for and then creators matching it against successful searches by other viewers.


One of the crucial factors that impacts the YouTube algorithm is engagement. YouTube evaluates the number of likes, comments, shares, and subscribers a video receives. The more engagement a YouTube video generates, the higher its chances of appearing in recommended videos and search results. What this means for you: the more you encourage viewers to leave likes, comments, and share your video, the more it will boost its visibility.


The video quality plays a significant role in the YouTube algorithm. High-quality content with good production values and clear audio is more likely to capture and retain viewers’ attention. Investing in professional equipment and editing tools can enhance the overall quality of your videos and improve their performance on the platform.


YouTube aims to deliver relevant content to the user’s interests and search queries. In order for you to optimize your videos for relevance, musicians should focus on using relevant keywords in video titles, descriptions, and tags. Additionally, conducting keyword research can help identify popular search terms and incorporate them strategically into the video content. This can increase your chances of exposure through their “Recommended Video” queue.


Consistency in uploading new content influences the YouTube algorithm. If you regularly release videos, the algorithm realizes that you are an active content creator, which boosts your visibility. Be sure to establish a consistent schedule for uploads so you can build anticipation among your fans and increase the likelihood of your content being recommended.


YouTube considers the authority and credibility of a channel when determining its visibility. Building authority involves establishing a strong presence on the platform, growing YouTube subscribers, interacting with viewers through comments, and engaging in collaborations with other artists or influencers. Rick Beato, for example, has posted 1,200 videos over several years and has become an authority on all things music-theory-related. The more authoritative your channel becomes, the more likely it is to be recommended to YouTube users.

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Key strategies for musicians to get more exposure

There are three key strategies you can employ to get more views of your videos and help make the YouTube algorithm work for you.

1. Optimize your video SEO

Effective video search engine optimization (SEO) can greatly enhance your visibility on YouTube. Conduct keyword research to identify relevant and popular search terms within your niche. Incorporate these keywords strategically in your video titles, descriptions, and tags to increase the likelihood of your content appearing in search results and suggested videos.

2. Use social media to promote your content

Leverage the power of other social media platforms to promote your YouTube videos. Share your videos and engage with your followers and encourage them to watch, like, comment, and share. 

3. Collaborate with others

Independent music is all about community. Connect with other musicians or influencers to expand your reach. Collaborating with others will expose your music to new audiences.

Best practices to increase video engagement

Disc Makers guide to Making A Great MasterBecause engagement is so vital to the YouTube algorithm, here are some ways to boost engagement for your videos.

  • Create compelling thumbnails. Thumbnails act as a visual preview of your video and can significantly impact click-through rates. Design eye-catching thumbnails that accurately represent the content and entice viewers to click and watch.
  • Encourage interaction. Prompt viewers to leave comments by asking questions or requesting feedback. Respond to comments to foster community and connection with your audience. This will lead to higher engagement rates and a positive impact on the YouTube algorithm.
  • Call-to-action overlays. Use YouTube’s call-to-action overlays feature to prompt viewers to take specific actions such as subscribing to your channel, visiting your website, or streaming your music on other platforms. This feature helps drive engagement and directs viewers to consume your content.

Common myths about the YouTube algorithm

Over the years, some myths have grown over how the YouTube algorithm works. Here are the two most common.

  1. Longer videos perform better. While watch time is an essential metric for the YouTube algorithm, it doesn’t necessarily mean longer videos always perform better. Focus on creating content that is engaging and retains viewers’ attention throughout its duration, regardless of its length.
  2. Gaming the algorithm guarantees success. Trying to manipulate the algorithm by using clickbait titles, tags, or misleading thumbnails may initially generate views, but it can harm your channel’s reputation and user trust. Instead, prioritize creating valuable and authentic content.

Of course, using your YouTube channel, TikTok videos, and social media presence to boost CD sales is another way to generate income after you’ve caught the interest of listeners. Go to to see all our CD and vinyl LP packages.

Philip Kinsher is a writer, editor, and musician with a predilection for YA Sci-fi Fantasy books and rock and roll. And golf and pickleball.

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About Philip Kinsher

Philip Kinsher is a writer, editor, and musician with a predilection for YA Sci-fi Fantasy books and rock and roll. And golf and pickleball.

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