How to promote and market music on YouTube

How do you promote music on YouTube? It’s not an easy task. Most of us get stuck with a few hundred YouTube views per video, despite pouring our hearts and souls into the music and video content. It’s not how it should be.

In this article, I will share my learnings about spreading my band’s music on YouTube. Don’t miss out on my other music promotion tips: Facebook, SoundCloud, content marketing and SEO.

My YouTube music channel

Soliloquium YouTube marketing

The YouTube algorithm logic

Important YouTube ranking factors:

  • Average viewing time
  • Video title
  • Video description
  • Video tags
  • Video quality
  • View count

YouTube’s algorithm is different from Google’s. It hasn’t been without its exploitable flaws. Like Google, the focus has moved from keywords to user engagement metrics. Average viewing time is a strong factor, which can cause new videos to trend very heavily. This doesn’t mean that keywords and other metadata lost its importance. Make sure to focus on getting both for your music videos.

Average viewing time (watch time)

The YouTube watch time ranking factor is exactly what it sounds like. How many seconds of the video are the average viewer watching? The best way to increase the watch time is to provide interesting content. A lyric video always trumps a song with an album cover visual. Longer videos is a sure way to increase the YouTube watch time. This doesn’t mean intentionally stuffing the videos with less valueable content.

One trick is to post full albums or collect songs in one video in another that way that makes sense to the viewer. In my experience, full albums always get a better YouTube watch time compared to songs.

Video title

The video title is imperative for YouTube success for two reasons: it defines your video for search and describes it for the users. Try to get your genre and year in there without bloating it. If it sounds like another band, getting “similar to xxx” in there could be a good idea as well. In the end, it needs to be SEO optimized and readable at the same time.

Video description

Writing video descriptions and other types of metadata is boring as hell. That’s why you should go the extra mile. I always try to write a 300 word video description for every video that I publish. Start out with the important defining facts like artist, song, year and genre. Don’t forget to provide a visible clickthrough link. It won’t sell you a million albums, but it’s still a mistake to not provide it.

Some tips for video descriptions to reach 300 valueable (searchable) words:

  • Include lyrics
  • Include similar artists
  • Include links to other videos
  • Include links to resources
  • Include links to collaborators
  • Explain why or how you made this video

Video tags

The tags can bring valueable referral traffic from similar videos. The mastertip for tags is to do a bit of research. If you’re covering a band, find the most popular content about them and include it in your tags. A creative, yet relevant, use of tags can bring in some extra views.

Video quality

An often overlooked YouTube ranking factor is video quality. YouTube likes HD video, no matter if it’s just a music video with an album cover or basic lyrics. Not many people do this, so make sure you do it. Don’t forget to name your video file something that’s consistent with your video title and subject. It’s also a suspected ranking factor.

View count

A high view count is a sign of authority, as well as a ranking factor. Pushing forth your most popular videos is a smart move. Imagine someone coming to your channel profile for the first time. Isn’t is better to greet them with a 50,000 view video compared to a 500 view one?

Video formats for music promotion

Music promotion on YouTube is about far more than just posting your songs. The more you think in terms of content marketing, the better. Here is a guide to the most common videos bands and musicians can do to draw attention to their material.

  • Playthroughs
  • Cover songs
  • Live versions
  • Rehearsal versions
  • Live Q&A’s
  • Music reviews
  • Top lists

Cover songs as YouTube promotion

YouTube playlists

Playlists are an underrated way of getting traffic to your YouTube channel. It can be a way to get subscribers and channel views. If you’re a bit sneaky, you can find a way to integrate your own material into the playlists and get views. Below are some tips for playlist themes.

  • Genre playlists
  • Mood playlists
  • Geographic playlists
  • Yearly playlists

YouTube tips for musicians wrap-up

These are my YouTube learnings, compressed into one hyperactive homepage article. Did you find anything valuable in the article? Have you achieved success with something that’s not listed in the article. Please comment!

Read more about music marketing:

SEO for musicians ->
How to promote music on Bandcamp ->
How to promote music on Facebook ->
How to promote music on SoundCloud ->
How to promote metal music online ->

Other content on this site:

Music articles ->
Music reviews ->
My doom metal band Soliloquium ->