Perhaps the best way to get your music (and face) out there these days, is through YouTube. Posting your content to YouTube on a regular basis opens up some serious potential for you and your music, as billions of people are on YouTube every single month; one of the most commonly searched topics being music. Originally, the only opportunity to get your music heard was by pounding the pavement. Desperately searching for gigs, and handing your demo out with no guarantee that anyone will actually listen. Being successful in music still requires a lot of hard work, but we have access to some amazing tools these days, and those who have a strong understanding of these tools will always have an edge in this online world; where likes, views, and comments frequently determine success.
A big reason past popular artists have fallen out of the spotlight is because they weren’t able to transition into this new format. They can’t even find where the spotlight has moved. Some artists actually make a living solely off posting videos to YouTube each week. These YouTube stars have a fundamental understanding of how the platform works, and know that being successful on the site requires more than simply posting a bunch of videos. What good are the videos if no one sees them?
Lindsey Stirling is currently the most successful YouTube musician of all time. She took the internet by storm with her incredible ability to combine her violin skills with mesmerizing visuals and choreography. She took songs from popular media culture (Video Games, TV Shows, Movies) and turned them into something amazing. Today she has over 10 million YouTube subscribers, as well as setting off on a world tour and even being featured as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. You might be surprised to learn that despite her fame she has remained a completely independent artist, refusing all the record deals that come her way.
One of Stirling’s very first videos, uploaded six years ago, this medley in homage to the Legend of Zelda video game series quickly went viral.
In this article, I’d like to give a few basic pointers about uploading videos to YouTube, and how to make them as effective as possible.
Title of the Video
What you need to understand is that the Internet runs on “keywords”. These are words and phrases that people enter into search engines in order to find the content that interests them. When you create your title you need to make sure each words counts. When it comes to uploading a song or music video to YouTube this would be the information you want to have
- Title of the song
- Name of the musician/performer
- Name of the location being played at (if applicable)
- If the song is a cover, you definitely want to add the name of the original artist (It would be a heavily searched keyword)
If I were uploading a cover of say . . . “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion; then I would make sure I have both the title of the song and “Celine Dion” in my title.
Example: My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion (Kris Bailey Acoustic Cover)
Note that there are no unused words in this title; each word has importance. The name of the song, the name of the original singer, my name, and the fact that is an acoustic cover is a pretty thorough encompassing of what the video entails. All pieces of the title are things someone would search; and when they do hopefully your name starts popping up in the search as well.
Postmodern Jukebox is arguably the most popular cover band on YouTube right now, taking modern hits and recreating them with an oldies vintage style. Take a look at their video, and note what makes their title so effective in searches.
The description of the video is where you will go into further detail (as well as repeating the title info) of the video and its contents. You want to speak as if you are actually talking to the viewer, in your own words. Keep in mind that the words you use in the description also count as keywords, and therefore a chance for your videos to be seen in search results. Make sure you add any necessary info that you think would be relevant, but remember that every word counts.
Here is a good example of an effective description by YouTube cover artists, Nikki and Gabi
In honor of it being New Year’s Eve, we wanted to upload a special cover to Taylor Swift’s “New Year’s Day” with a twist to the video.. Be sure to watch. Happy New Year’s Dolls! XO MWAH
they effectively added all the necessary and relevant information while maintaining their unique voice to the fans.
Make sure you add links to to your website and social media accounts. If your viewer likes what they see and hear then you need to give them an opportunity to engage with you further. This is what pulls in more dedicated fans interested in you and what you do, and takes them to any other content you may be posting. Plus it’s another thing that shows up in search results so there you go!
Tags are pretty much the same thing as keywords albeit you have free reign to be a little bit broader. You want to add a lot of tags that are commonly searched and would be relevant to your video. Tags such as: music, band, pop, rock, acoustic, cover band, live, concert, happy new years, singer, party, nightlife, indie scene, etc. Anything that can meaningfully attach to your video and increase the chances of it showing up in search results.
Peter Hollens is another successful YouTube artist, posting Acapella covers of popular songs, and frequently collaborating with other high profile YouTube Artists.
Your video needs to look and sound nice. If it’s visually or audibly unappealing then it is likely to be disregarded by viewers. If it’s a video of a live concert then you want to have a clear view of whoever is on stage, nobody is blocking the camera, the camera is stable, and the sound isn’t too quiet or so loud that the camera distorts the sound. in a live performance situation this can be difficult if you don’t prepare beforehand, or have low quality gear.
If you’re posting a video of you in a more intimate setting it’s a little more easier to get the quality you want. Make sure your camera is at an angle that allows your face and/or instrument to be seen clearly. Lighting should be complimentary, and bright enough that you and the room can be seen. Keep blank space to a minimum in your shot; if the majority of the shot is a blank white wall that won’t be visually appealing. Make sure you are close enough to the camera that you take up the focus, and if you have a more aesthetic setting for the blank space that is always a plus. As for sound; ideally you will be using a recording microphone, but a set of earbuds can at least accomplish what you need, as long as you keep the input volume into account.
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Conquer artist, Skye Dumont, does a great job with the aesthetic quality of her videos. In this video though the background is blank, she and her microphone take up the majority of the shot. The lighting is great, and the vibrant colors of her hair, clothes, and makeup (most notably her bright red lipstick) pull all the focus. The blank space directly adjacent to her is taken up by a simple plant (doesn’t pull focus but still takes up the space), and the filter used over the video provides an even color tone overall.
Have you ever heard the common internet phrase “Too long didn’t read”? Well it’s a very real thing that you need to be aware of. People on the internet do not have the longest attention span. Your video should be long enough to showcase the song properly, but not so long that people start to dull out the subject matter. Your videos will be most effective if they are high quality and concise. Not to mention the longer the video, the more likely they are to click out of it. If they don’t watch from start to finish then YouTube does not register it as a view.
Editing plays a big part in this as well. Instead of taking raw footage from a camera, where there is likely to be points in which nothing is happening, we want to edit those parts out. If it takes too long for the song to start then the viewer is more likely to click out of it before they even get a chance to hear you sing.
No doubt equipment for high quality videos can be extremely expensive, and you may think it just isn’t in the budget. However, there is some perfectly reasonable gear out there that will allow you to start getting quality videos out there.
The Blue Yeti is hands down the best USB mic on the market, and can be purchased for 100 dollars.
So there are my tips on creating the most effective YouTube videos! Getting your content seen can still be quite difficult, but with a little perseverance and proper posting it’s only a matter of time. And if you’re looking to find your first guitar check out our list on BEST ACOUSTIC GUITARS FOR FLEDGLING SONGWRITERS
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