How To Promote Your Music On YouTube In 2024

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There’s about 10,000 videos on how to promote yourself as a YouTuber or a vlogger. But if you search how to promote your music on YouTube, it’s unbelievably laughable how bad the information is and how little of it there actually is. Especially considering YouTube is so many of your potential fans’ first impression of you and depending on whose information you believe, it’s either the biggest or second biggest music discovery platform on the web. No matter what, it’s something you should be doing better, since YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and 85% of music listening is active as in people are watching the videos, not passively streaming in the background.

But there’s tons of secrets that all the big channels and labels know that I’ve learned over the years in working album release rollouts that most of you don’t know. So in this video, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about how to promote your music on YouTube and optimize your videos so they can actually get discovered. So right from the jump, one of the things people get most wrong about how to build a fanbase is that you have to do consistent sustained promotion. So if you’re not familiar with that, that’s the crux of this channel and what I teach and has helped so many musicians. So if you don’t know about that, after this video you’re really going to want to hit the description, because I’m not going to go over that for the hundredth time on here, but you really should know that.

So the first thing we’re going to discuss is building out your channel page. Now you may say, “Kersey, what the hell is this up to do with promoting my music?” And as always, I’m going to ask you to chill dog and listen up. One of the biggest things musicians miss about why you need to have a great profile on things like YouTube and Spotify is it helps whatever attention you get be maximized. So when you get an opportunity, it really blows up. If you can give listeners more reason to be interested in you, they will return to you more often. When you make it impossible for your email to be found on your channel page, you lose it on press, shows, or potentially other huge opportunities. When you don’t have a great trailer on your channel, you lose the chance for a fan to build bonds with you. When you don’t have a neat profile, potential team members may see you as lazy and then not ask to work with you. So you need to take the time to make this profile nice.

And I’m not kidding you when I say this, it takes a whole 30 minutes to build out your whole profile. So basically click around the tabs and just fill everything out and make it look nice like the other artists you like’s profiles. Look at a few other groups you like, see what they do, take the best of it, and put it together. Every genre is different and every way people do this feels a little different across music genres so figure out how you should do it for yourself. And if you need to format things, get something like Canva, Pixelmator, if you don’t want to have a huge photoshop subscription and make it happen.

But here’s a huge thing that makes a huge difference in your channel’s discoverability and how you show up in search. One thing even experienced artists miss is that your channel itself has tags, not just the songs. So put any keywords people would need to search for, whether it’s genre, location, popular song names, your own personal names, your album names, etc. and get them in here so that they potentially show up on search. So let’s say you have a video with a rat dragging pizza and your band is playing on top of the pizza and he’s dragging it through the New York City subways. One of your tags should be “pizza rat video band” since giving that YouTube a hint as to what search terms people would put in for you really helps you get discovered. Anything people may search for you should go here.

But remember, these search terms don’t guarantee you’ll be there. If people don’t get what they’re looking for, you’re going to go down and search. So if you’re putting the most handsome singer on earth when you look like Shrek with face tattoos, it’s not going to go so well. You can seriously enter tons of search terms here though so go wild. Then we get to your trailer, which should be a video that shows your personality. But if you’re not comfortable with that, it’s cool to just put your latest music video here. But remember, this video auto plays so you want it to be something when someone who lands on your page would want to keep watching or potentially make a great first impression.

I know some of you often spend forever on EPKs, but truly telling your story or visually showing a vibe of what you do in 2-4 minutes here can really help convert people over to wanting to support you and get to know your music better and binge your music. Please also remember to fill in the suggested channels section with other acts you’re friends with and the people you collaborate with. In fact, you can even write other groups that you have things in common with and see if they want to trade these placements so that their fans discover you and vice versa and you start to build a community. But trust me when I say, if you put a huge artist you respect here, not only does it look pathetic, it’s a waste of time. It’s better to put nothing here than to put Drake or some other huge artist.

Oh yeah, and one small trick many people miss is that once you have 1000 subscribers you can get that fancy subscribe watermark button on top of all your videos like I have in mine. Do something eye catching with that subscribe button so that it actually catches people’s attention and they get the hint and let it match your aesthetic. And truly I’ve seen so many people up their subscriptions with that little nudge. Okay, but now we want to populate this channel with some playlists so your channel page looks nice like this. If you have numerous playlists you want to make sure there are these nice horizontal rows so fans can easily navigate through them. But the top row should be whatever is going to be the best first impression for fans to get to know you.

And remember you can do playlists for all sorts of things. Particularly I like to do music videos, lyric videos, full album streams, alternate versions like acoustic songs or remixes, behind the scenes and personality videos that show what you’re like in real life. Whatever could be categorized make a playlist of it. But if you have more than 20 songs out make a greatest hits playlist of the best 5 or the bangers or whatever feels good to call it. And put that first since you want to make the best first impression. And listeners are used to going to Spotify and hitting play on your 5 most popular songs so if you give people that opportunity to do it on YouTube it makes your discovery way easier and makes it more likely they’re going to like you when they hear your best material first.

While we’re on the subject of playlists let’s go deeper on them. First off something most people miss about playlists is they need descriptions. This can help them come up in search but also can give the viewers more context. Be sure with music playlists to title them with more than music videos and give some context so they are more searchable. And it’ll also help so when they get shared the preview comes up with some context when a potential fan gets sent that from a friend. Just like I advise on Spotify and if you haven’t watched my video on how to promote yourself on Spotify it’s down in the description you should be making playlists of your favorite bands local to you and in your scene and sharing that and tagging the groups on social media when you share them.

And whenever you update the Spotify playlist come here and do the same. This also teaches YouTube’s algorithm to recognize you as similar to those groups and can get fans of those groups to hear you if the other group shares it. But it’s really important to make a playlist of similar acts who are around your size and fanbase and share them on your socials regularly and tag them when you share these playlists on social media as this can really help build out your YouTube views as well as getting you into the algorithm properly. If you’re curious how to find these other groups my video on how to find community is linked in the description and that will teach you how.

But like I always tell you share playlists on social media not single videos since Spotify and YouTube will play other artists they choose after your song is done whereas you can choose what the listeners you drive to those platforms hear next when you share playlists instead. But here’s another trick. Whenever you release a new single make a playlist by its name which doesn’t need to be listed on your channel page of that song. You can make it private by clicking a simple button and then put the songs of yours that you think fans would like the most to play after it and more on what to do with that in a minute since these can be really powerful.

But now you’re thinking about what about those video title screens at the end of every video where they suggest me to watch another video. That’s what we call end screens and you can enter that on each video and customize it to each one. You can even make templates and import them. But you can put up a choice of playlists or videos as well as a subscribe button. I really think it’s best to put up that playlist I just talked to you about where you suggest the songs most like the last one people just heard since it’s more likely to get them addicted. And if you do that playlist of all the songs that are similar to the song you just put up you’re more likely to drive up your watch time and YouTube is more likely to suggest you in the algorithm since that’s one of the things they really care about.

Just remember end screens are like 5 to 25 seconds long and keeping them on the short side can really help videos since fans get intimidated by longer videos so if you’re adding on a bunch of dead air so it doesn’t go over the end of the video that can sometimes hurt your watch time. But here’s the thing, whenever you release a new single it’s your duty to go in and update all those cards and end screens and playlists of your old videos so that they can link to your new single. And I know this gets really annoying. Trust me record companies and management companies have low level interns and employees doing this all day every day. But I’ll say this, it gets a little easier if you use the app TubeBuddy which does have a cheap tier which is some great software that ranges from free in price to a bunch of dollars a month that’ll make updating and navigating YouTube way more easy to manage.

Now let’s talk about titles and thumbnails. So here’s a funny thing, for YouTubers and vloggers a thumbnail is like everything about getting the click. I have to spend so long on all my thumbnails and titles it’s ridiculous because they really do help you get clicks. But for music videos it’s real simple. Since you really want to just choose the most provocative image from your video that will make people say “I want to see more of that” that invites curiosity since that’s the whole game here. It’s that simple. Since music works way different than YouTuber videos since it’s not subject based. But that does bring me to your video title. You need to keep it simple with the artist name, song name, and then what it is. Lyric video, visualizer, official music video, or whatever it is. You need that there.

And if you want to add more context or be silly or whatever but you could always do this title dash dash if there’s some other unique draw of the video like you have a big star in it or there’s a unique visual. But truly what to remember with thumbnails is they are often compared to the packaging of a product that you’d see in like a toy store. In that the better the thumbnail looks the more likely it is to be clicked. So figuring out how you design it so it feels right in your niche and genre and it feels like it’s high quality is going to get more people to click it when they see it in search or browse. Oh yeah and if you want to make sure your thumbnails are legible and good use the free website Thumbs Up to see what they look like at tons of different sizes so that you know they’ll work on every device.

But since big YouTubers use the title to create curiosity a lot of the time you can’t do that so let’s remember there’s another factor that gets you clicks as a musician. You know on YouTube if you mouse over a video you see a preview of the first 30 seconds or so? Well a lot of people think of that as a trailer for the video so a lot of people will find how to preview the coolest shots of their music video and make that the first few frames. Sometimes they’ll put a montage at the top of the song with a few sound effects before it starts so people really get drawn in on what the music video is.

But now let’s talk about descriptions and tags. YouTube is always changing how they use the description and tags for search so I like to be safe here. Let’s start with description. First describe the video and do any linking for preorder streams or any other sites or anything else you want to promote at the top. If there’s some crazy visuals describe them in words than a way a fan would search for them if a friend showed them the video and then they went home and wanted to search for that video again. So if it’s a video where you have a bunch of people slicing themselves up with broken CDs then describe that here. That’s right you’re a real twisted artist look at you.

Anyway then do credits including the producer and mixer of the song since this is going to be something that comes up in search which can help you get discovered if they blow up or if they’re famous along with any performers and video directors. And then credit everyone involved in the video for the same reasons. You’d be shocked how many groups get tons more views when a director or actor blow up after your video has been out for a while and you could benefit from this in views. Next and this is important make sure you put your lyrics since it helps your video come up in search if someone searches for that lyric they remembered. If someone googles that lyric they liked as long as your lyrics aren’t generic as all hell it will come up in search and then this potential fan will find your video and hopefully fall for you and you’ll build a fan for life.

Lastly at the bottom of the description you can do some hashtags if you want those to show up above your video by the title. I find this kind of corny for musicians but if you want fans to participate in social media hashtag campaigns or you want to tag your genre so it’s reinforced to the fans go for it. But what about tags which are different than hashtags? Down below when you’re entering all your videos information you can tag it for search just like we did your channel. And it’s very similar if your video has a crazy visual put that along with the song titles and any terms someone may search. And then of course any genres or micro genres that your song is in even misspellings of your name. This is where they should go since tags allow search to factor it in and give greater context of what you could potentially come up for when people search on YouTube.

So let’s talk about actually promoting a video on YouTube. The first days are very important that you build some momentum. Before your videos even up if you have a catalog of YouTube videos already go in your analytics and find out when your fans are online by looking at those analytics and release your video an hour or two before so they can see your video before it gets buried in all the videos they’re subscribed to. As well YouTube has premieres as a feature which you could have fans tuned into and watch and chat with them in the room while the videos premiered which is amazing for bond building and a great way to try to get it so that people can be reminded about your videos since fans can click a remind button when they see it in their subscriptions feed and then get reminded when it’s out and drive up your views.

But what I like about it the most is it makes a big difference since they can recommend it to people who’ve already watched your content and can see the subscription and browse functions for two weeks before your song even comes out and people can be reminded about you. Honestly it’s a really good promotion plan and people don’t take enough advantage of it. Just don’t overuse this tool and only use it on your biggest events. One of the reasons I recommend putting the music video out last in the cycle after a video with just one screen and a lyric video is that the algorithm will show you in discovery if someone watched it before and then they’re much more likely to watch that music video if they’re even mildly interested. After all the music video is your biggest event and we can prepare people to make a bond with you while also being able to build relationships with the song when they feel the song in a greater way from watching it.

So when you release your video we’re going to try to get links up on social media and message boards and as I’ve discussed in my videos before you want to check in and send it to people who’ve expressed interest in your band before because this is a big moment. You should be texting people you’ve met and checking in and asking how they are and then tell them about your new music video and hopefully they’ll share it. But let’s talk about appealing to YouTube’s algorithm since that’s where most views come from. We have to remember YouTube will put you in the recommended videos and other browser features if people have watched your videos before and they’ll do it more so if you show some engagement that’s what helps build it up. So let’s talk about how you drive that engagement so the algorithm does that for you.

First download the YouTube Studio app and put it on your phone and let it notify you when you get comments and respond as fast as you can since you’re most likely to get a response if you respond fast. Listen I have like a million jobs to do but if you’ve ever commented on some of my videos you see I often respond pretty fast with a comment. When you write back to them try to keep the conversation going too. Ask them a question, say something that’s open end so maybe you can get feedback from them. The more engagement here the more the algorithm will like it and plus they have to click on the video to comment back on it which counts as another view. Also remember that that little heart button that’s only available to the creator of the video will send notifications to a fan that you love the comment. It’s a great trick for many people to get more engagement and one of the things I think is really really cool to do is if you haven’t answered every comment you can start answering them right before your next video drops or harding them if you want to be fast and a lot of time that will drive that video into that person’s algorithm since you recently had an interaction with them. I’ve seen it work with the people I work with and it really does make a huge difference.

Anyway write when your video drops you want to pin a comment that allows people to build a relationship with you. I ask fans a question about themselves, ask about an easter egg you put in the video if anyone caught it or ask them something that ties in with the video that will get them interacting with it. Just remember the bigger splash you make with the video in the first 1-7 days the better. Now you may be wondering if you should go gangbusters the first hour but we have to remember not everyone has time to watch a video when you premiere it. So you need to remember this is a sustained push and remember the bigger splash you make the more likely the bigger the blow up int he algorithim.

Now you may be wondering if you should go gangbusters the first hour, but we have to remember not everyone has time to watch a video when you premiere it. So you need to remember this is a sustained push, and remember, the bigger splash you make, the more likely the algorithm is to help you. So we’re going to work on this for 30 days and continuously push it.

Now let’s do a quick talk about editing and end screens. When you have long, drawn-out parts before your video starts, remember in YouTube Studio you can see people dropping off and stopping watching by going to this graph. Most videos’ goal is to look like a hockey stick and not one with splinters or crooked edges. If you’re seeing a double-ended hockey stick at the end, you could go in YouTube Studio and trim off the end of the video if the song was already done. The same goes if you put one of those dumb music stops where you have a plot in the middle of your video. God, I hate those. If you want to get rid of it because it’s screwing up watch time, you can edit it out later. YouTube favors the videos that keep people watching and have long sessions, so this really matters.

Oh, and one more cool trick of these editing functions: if you already have a fan base that’s enthused, you could put some behind-the-scenes footage and tell fans that it will only be up in the premiere in the first 24 hours at the end of the video during the premiere. Then you can edit it out later and put it in a separate video or your shorts or some TikToks later.

Well, now let’s talk about YouTube Playlisting. We constantly talk about Spotify Playlisting, but if you do that community work I talked about before, you can find some of the most important ways to promote, which is finding these channels that aggregate unknown musicians’ videos in their micro-genres. There are tons of YouTube channels that are influencers in genres that will premiere or playlist songs. Do searches for your micro-genres and try to find them. Even try to look at different channel names on some of the videos that are put out and see if these are those. Look at their channel pages, and often in the description they have how you can contact them. I find lots of micro-genres have these, and they can get you on the radar of your most important likely early fans since the people who follow these on their browse page and subscriptions are die-hard fans looking for this type of music.

Let’s also remember a music video is a big event. It should get linked high on your Linktree, Koji, or Rivet community page. You should really be reminding people about it, making scenes from it in shorts, and posting to IG and TikTok as well. Let’s also remember YouTube has a little-known feature on shorts where you can link to your full-length video. Whenever you’re promoting a song, you should be changing the shorts to link to whichever video is out, whether it’s the one with just the album cover, a lyric video, or a music video. Whatever you’re pushing, the small versions of your video in shorts should be linked here.

So here’s the thing: we all know that YouTube shorts and TikToks are how you really get people pulled into your video, but so many people ask me if they should just make videos for shorts. I have a video where I talk about how you make a music video that transfers well to shorts, TikToks, and reels, which is on the screen now, and you should really watch. So make sure you watch that next if you really want to level up.


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