Recently, I had the pleasure to speak with the manager of an emerging band from Spain that also happened to be a duo of vloggers. The manager was a little bit overwhelmed with the success the band was receiving lately with their new single and came to me for advice on what to expect and what to do in the future.
While I will not reveal the name of the band for a certain privacy, I found myself contemplating the idea that I wished musicians were YouTubers first.
It may sound crazy like this, but I believe that YouTube is such a great school to learn how to be your own brand that musicians would benefit from it.
You may have already heard me say how the Music Industry was dead and that music artists needed to act like businesses. Well, here are 6 things to keep in mind when starting a music career on YouTube, and be a successful brand at the same time.
1 — Patience is your best friend
I am blown away by the number of people who want everything to happen now. It has to “be done, or there’s no hope.” But truly, music is a long-term game.
We hear about this concept of “overnight success,” but this is something that does not happen, at least, in 99.9% of the cases. Of course, it can happen as we may have seen, exceptionally, a rapper going on SoundCloud and out of nowhere being retweeted by another huge rapper, but you know, some people win the lottery as well.
So for the rest of the population, when you ask about how they became successful, they will tell you that hard work and patience were their best friends.
I love this, and I call it “trusting in the process,” meaning that it is normal to start with 10 views and 2 likes on your videos. If you have the patience to put a video every week for the next 2 years, you’ll see the results.
2 — Release, release, release!
So far, from all successful artists I have had the pleasure to work with, they all put in the work.
It is not because one decided to upload a few songs that the sauce got spicier; in fact, it is because they have been in the game for a long time and stayed consistent with it.
One of the keys to be a successful music artist on YouTube is first and foremost to release music. You have to release as much music as possible in order to have an offer to the demand.
Put everything for free, of course, and don’t ask anything in return. This is actually still a common thing is people’s behaviors to open a YouTube page to look up for an artist before anything else (Spotify, SoundCloud…). Therefore, you better be on that platform with as many songs as possible.
3 — Revenues don’t matter
You may have heard that revenues on YouTube were a thing. But with the new YouTube policy on Ads, it happens that you will never be able to earn a cent before you have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of cumulated watched content per month.
Therefore, you can pretty much forget about YouTube money at the beginning, and this should be a catalyzer for you to release more music in order to have more people watching your videos longer.
In other words, don’t stop at the fact that you are not getting paid for your artistic efforts on YouTube. To be fair, even the big shots don’t get that much of a check at the end of the year from YouTube.
4 — It doesn’t have to be perfect
This is a common sentence that I hear when I ask artists why there is no more music of them on YouTube. It generally goes along these lines:
- “I don’t have a 4K camera”
- “I need SHURE SM58 microphones or the sound will be awful”
- “I don’t have great lights where I live”
- “I don’t have a backdrop or any theatrical place to film”
Read this carefully: if you related to one of these sentences, then you’re just making excuses not to put in the work.
Trust me on this point: nobody cares about perfect lighting or sound.
Pull out your smartphone, stick it into your face, grab that guitar and sing your heart out.
5 — Bring the heat from Social Media
A little advice on how to grow your audience on YouTube: make the call from other social media.
It will definitely start with friends and family. These people will be the die-hard fans until the rest of your life, so make sure these 10 to 20 people subscribed and hit the bell button.
Now, these people are all capable of inviting 10 others. You could easily fall to 100 subscribers in no time, ready to share your content.
So each time you release a cover, make sure you post about it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms in order to bring as many people as possible to your songs.
It doesn’t matter if you have 30 views, one of them could be Barack Obama, and it would change the game.
6 — It’s not only about music
One of the most common mistakes artists do nowadays is to be simply artists. They forget that they are humans and that life is not just being perfect, taking private jets and eating at the top of the world.
Therefore, artists don’t give that “All access” that fans actually want.
I can’t stress you enough to document your life as an artist on YouTube via what we call “vlogs”.
Vlogs are important to tell your journey, to explain what are your struggles as an artist. People are legitimately looking for this content, and this is an important way to grab the attention of your fans and to make them adhere to your brand.
In conclusion, making it on YouTube as an artist is definitely something that you should look up to. Yes, it will take months, maybe years, but it will teach you so much about perseverance, patience, and hustle that you will be ready for the next challenges.