YouTube is the most popular video-sharing platform on the Web, and the second most popular search engine, only surpassed by Google. It is a critical tool for independent artists who seek to gain exposure, fans, and outreach beyond a local hub to use YouTube's ever-changing algorithm to their advantage. This is a time-sensitive issue, as YouTube's algorithm changes with use, misuse, and societal trends. For example, it was added to the community guidelines recently that spreading misinformation was cause for a video being removed, a user being suspended or shadow-banned, or other punishments.
But new developments have made it easier for users to gain views and traffic, first, the introduction of YouTube Shorts.
YouTube Shorts are the same videos and content, but with a 60 second time limit. And using the YouTube app on your phone, it has a similar feel and working of Tik Tok or Instagram Reels.
Indie artists can use YouTube Shorts for any number of reasons, promo for an upcoming concert, a 60-second cover of a popular artist, a quick freestyle, or even showing off your artistry in a small timeframe to get people interested.
This is not a new wave either. Whether you look at YouTuber turned-musicians such as KSI, DDG, or Joji, or musicians who started through YouTube, like R&B singer UMI. This is a very realistic and some would even say necessary way to grow a fanbase in the digital age, especially for independent artists who don't have the backing of a major label to advertise their work. YouTube Shorts, by virtue of their short length, are easier to spread, and are boosted through the algorithm off the views they get from subscribers as well as people who aren't in your hub. It is one of the best ways to generate traffic to your page on YouTube.
The Community Tab is another new-ish aspect of YouTube to take into account. The Community tab is essentially a timeline for an individual YouTuber. They can post pictures, blogs and polls to directly interact with their subscribers, another great way to directly ask the people who follow you what they would like to see, and how you can maximize your market and grow. Think of it as a way to focus group your personal business and brand.
An example of a poll on Looper's Community Tab.
There are also YouTube Stories, a similar feature originated by Snapchat. Post small pictures and videos here as well, but keep in mind, the vast majority of Youtube Story viewers are likely going to be from your subscribers. Use it in tandem with Community tab posts to keep people aware of your upcoming work, performances, and other things you would like to promote.
If you promote your music on Instagram and Twitter, great job! But if you're only using these platforms, there are potential gains you are missing out on. An artist's YouTube page doesn't have to be more than just music videos and visualizers, but if you feel your fanbase has been stagnant, or if you want to take your music career to the next level, post some covers, freestyles, film some studio sessions for a Short, make a dance for one of your new songs, interview another artist and discuss your processes, post a vlog about your life as an artist, the possibilities are truly endless for what content you can make to expand your brand, and elevate you to the level of a signed artist without any type of deal.
Written by Max Olarinde, @mobeige1 on all social media.
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