YouTube tips of the week archive

We’ve partnered with YouTube to help you get the most out of the world’s biggest music streaming platform. In our free Knowledge newsletter, we’ve been showcasing the skills you need, case studies, and insider tips – directly from the experts at YouTube! Here’s the archive of all these tips, in one place. Just click on the arrow bottom right of your screen to return to the top of the menu at any time:

1Using Premieres to build hype (and fans) on YouTube

YouTube’s Premieres function can be used to maximise the launch of your newest music video. Here’s how you can use Premieres to increase fans, buzz and streams:

  • Premieres create buzz around a new video – so make sure you set up the watch page far enough in advance – and then tease and promote your release at least 24 hours beforehand on social media
  • Premieres work best with landmark video releases – so use it for official music video launches, live streams, or the first episode in a series of original or behind-the-scenes content
  • Fans love to chat to artists before, during and after the Premiere – so plan on being in the live chat, and remind your viewers to subscribe to your channel
  • Time it right (and smart): set your Premiere to go live at a time when your core audience is awake – to figure this out, look up the geography of your audience in your YouTube Analytics demographics report
  • Set it up for success: create a Premiere by uploading a video as normal, then toggle “Premiere” and pick a date and time. Upload a great custom thumbnail that as that’s what will greet fans while they wait. Finally – click the URL to make sure it all looks right!

Got a new video to promote? Try out a Premiere! – learn more about Premieres on YouTube Creator Academy and also in the Help Centre.

2Live Chat with your biggest fans on YouTube during Premieres

Here’s some tips and best practices on how live chat during Premieres can help bring your fans closer:

  • Live chat is enabled by default and will appear to the right of the video player from the moment your premiere watch-page has gone live.
  • You should have a lot of fans waiting on the video watch-page before the video starts – so this is a great time to join the chat, just as anticipation is building.
  • Think about what you will say to your fans – and what links can you share with them?
  • You can directly respond to fans in the chat feed by typing “@” & their username. Fans really appreciate direct artist connections!
  • Live chat will continue for a few minutes after the video ends – so you can read fan feedback, and when viewers watch the premiere again, they’ll also see a replay of live chat.
  • There are also some ways to make the chat a safe and fun place: you’ll have options to delete messages, place a user in time out, or hide the user from the chat and comments section. You can also add trusted moderators to help you, and you can block comments that contain blacklisted keywords.

Launching a new video soon? Why not try chatting with your fans to make it a shared experience? – Here’s more details on how to use YouTube live chat.

3Getting started with YouTube Shorts

Here’s how artists and labels can quickly start making exciting short-form videos…

  • Share music, flex your creativity – and find fans. Combine your music with vertical video, and use the special tools to create snappy Shorts that encourage users to engage with you and your music.
  • Shorts are great for promoting music: use them to keep fans engaged throughout the creative process and during releases – and after release day you can encourage them to use your music in their own Shorts.
  • Announce or tease new releases in creative ways: share a live performance of the unreleased song, show fans how you put the track together, and use hashtags specific to you or your music.
  • Invite fans behind the scenes: show them your recording sessions, what happens backstage, life on the road, or work in rehearsal studios.
  • Turn existing videos into Shorts: on eligible videos, hit “Create” beneath the video, adjust the music and edit the video snippet – and upload it as a Short.

Get started with Shorts by watching this Shorts introduction video – and dig deeper in the Shorts creator hub. 

4YouTube Shorts – advanced tips for artists & labels

Here are some more advanced ways that artists and labels can use this exciting video platform:

  • Encourage your fans to use your music – check out the Sound Page to see the shorts that are being made, and share your favourite fan creations with your community… and encourage more fans to create!
  • Be spontaneous and keep the Shorts coming – if you upload a video that’s under 1 minute AND uploaded in a 9:16 or 1:1 ratio, it’ll be classified as a Short.
  • Does your music make people want to dance? Show your fans how: experiment with posting some moves – think of something that’s easy to replicate. A specific challenge #hashtag can be something fans rally around.
  • Use Shorts Analytics to measure performance – and to make informed decisions for making future Shorts. You’ll find stats on views, likes, and average view duration – and which Shorts sent users onwards to your official video.

There are great case studies, useful ideas, and more tips in the regular YouTube Shorts Report.

5How to release Multiple Videos for priority tracks

When you’re releasing an important song, think about releasing multiple videos, not just one. Fans want more ways to engage with your music beyond just the official video, so releasing multiple music videos makes them happy – and you can release them in a sequence that sustains the track’s performance.

  • Release your Official Music Video (the main one) on the same date your song is released across all platforms. Put “Official Music Video” in the title, add info cards linking to merch, prompt viewers to subscribe, and link to other videos.
  • Lyric videos are really popular – if you can’t release Official Videos and audio on the same day, make a lyric video to give your audiences enhanced content while they wait. Why not grow your audience with multiple language lyric videos?
  • Give your audience more content with a visualiser video – you don’t need fancy graphics: be creative and work with your time, budget and fan expectations. Include an endscreen to drive traffic back to the Official Video.
  • Don’t forget, we’ve previously discussed dropping official music videos using Premieres – check out our archive below.

Some case studies: BLACKPINK released a wide variety of videos for Kill This Love, Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber’s lyric video for I Don’t Care is simple but effective, and Vampire Weekend’s visualiser for This Life is engaging and fun.

6Live Videos & putting music in non-music videos

A look at how to give fans even more ways to engage with your music: with live performance videos and using your songs in other types of video

  • Live performances, of course, give your fans another way to enjoy your songs – so make sure you make them easy to find: include “live performance” in the title, and the name of the event, festival, or venue to boost SEO and pique interest.
  • Be strategic and place live performances in playlists – either as a group of live videos, or with their corresponding studio recordings – to maximise their views.
  • Think of ways you can use your master recording in other types of video: your music could soundtrack tour diaries, behind-the-scenes videos, choreography and dance videos – what kind of visual content would your fans like?
  • Try using the whole master recording as the sound bed: this means the video may get distributed in playlists, mixes, and “watch next” suggestions together with other music content.
  • Suggest your fans use it in fan-generated videos: you’ll earn money on fan-uploaded videos if the artist or label claims through YouTube Content ID.

This YouTube Creator Academy page is packed with tips on creative ways to use your music in different videos, and more.

7Get started selling Merch on YouTube

While you have fans engaging with your music videos, why not offer them merchandise that they can buy right there in YouTube?

  • YouTube offers a lot of ways for you to promote and sell official merch to fans. A Merch shelf will showcase your items below your videos; a Channel store tab displays items on your channel page; you can use Live chat pins to highlight merch in a live chat; and Merch end screens direct viewers to your products.
  • These all help fans browse without disturbing their video watching: Description links previews mean that fans can check out merch directly on YouTube, while your video continues to play.
  • Some insider tips: 
    • Keep things nice and clear so fans can easily engage: space out merch drops and donations campaigns so they happen at different times. (If you have donations running on your videos, the Merch shelf will not appear.)
    • Fans react well to artists suggesting they check out the merch on offer: give fans a verbal call-to-action to go to your merch shelf! This works really well in livestream situations, too.
  • Your channel needs to fulfil some simple but important requirements to be eligible – for instance, musicians must have an Official Artist Channel.

We recommend starting by considering the different ways you can showcase your merch in YouTube – and then get creative and start selling!

8Using Analytics for Artists to grow your channel

“So… what do I do next?” is a common question for anyone who has shared music with the world, and understanding how your existing songs are performing is the starting point for future decision-making. If you can understand your YouTube Analytics for Artists data, you’ll be able to plan more creatively:

  • YouTube Analytics for Artists offers lots of data to understand how your music is doing, and you’ll find the really useful stuff in Advanced Mode view by hitting “see more”.
  • To uncover interesting learnings, pick the “song” category and a metric (like views by song) – and then filter the results (for instance, the cities that viewers are in). This can help plan for tours, or to tailor content to a specific region.
  • Song-level analytics allows you to compare various video types for a single song so you can see which versions are most popular – official music videos, art tracks, lyric videos, or videos uploaded by fans that include your music.
  • This will help you understand which uses work best for your songs – and might help you create partnerships with other creators, communicate with fan groups, or make more focused and impactful videos in the future.

This article will help you better understand the basics of YouTube Analytics for Artists – think about how you could use that data creatively to make fans happy!

9Understand your performance as an Artist on YouTube

Let’s look at analysing how your songs have performed in Analytics For Artists Advanced Mode – and then strategically using that information to grow your career.

  • Song-level analytics help you compare total views, watch time, view duration, and unique viewers per song – and which type of video delivered the most streams. Maybe you could focus on one video format in the future?
  • Filters are your friend. Get started by typing your desired filter (maybe geography, live/on demand, etc), and consider the filters that auto-populate. This data can help you better connect your songs to specific audiences.
  • It’s useful to understand when songs worked best, as well as where: check out the impact of songs during specific time ranges. Does the success of a song align with, for instance, a marketing push, or was your song used in another YouTuber’s video? Maybe you could make this work even better in the future.
  • The “Reach” tab shows how viewers arrive and what they do. How many people saw your thumbnail, clicked on it, watched the video – and how long did they view? This helps you fine-tune your thumbnails and bring in more viewers.

This article and video will help you better understand how your performance contributes to your growth and success as an artist.

10Getting the most out of Community Posts

YouTube’s Community Posts are great for helping artists keep in touch with fans outside of video uploads. You may have seen these posts in the Home screen or Subscriptions feed – they have things like messages, images, GIFs, polls, and video clips in them. Here’s how to get the most out of this extremely useful feature:

  • Posts are a simple but powerful way to stay front-of-mind, and mean you can engage with fans in between your videos – and helps create new fans
  • The extra content helps turn a wider audience into fans: try sharing engaging behind-the-scenes photos, post news of upcoming shows, test out new merch ideas, and use polls to ask fans what they want you to do next
  • You can also post links to ticketing sites and merch stores – think about how you can tempt users who see it into digging deeper: eye-catching accompanying text and enticing visuals can make a big difference
  • Help fans know you better by curating stuff you love: try reposting playlists, share cool collaborations or fan reactions, and highlight your all-time favourite videos. It also means you’re not constantly pushing your new song – you can simply share what you love.

Read this to find out if you’re eligible for the Community feature, and start getting creative to click with your fans via Community Posts.

11Using Live Redirect to engage your fans using live streams

Live Redirect is a special live stream for fans just before a Premiere.

  • Live Redirect allows fans to chat to the artist as they wait for the video Premiere to begin. When the live stream ends, that live audience is seamlessly directed to the Premiere just before it starts.
  • It gives fans a front row seat in a place to geek out with other fans, whilst building anticipation for the main event – and the opportunity to chat to the artist.
  • It’s available to creators with over 1,000 subs and no Community Guideline strikes.
  • Crank up the excitement with interactive content: Ask Me Anything chats with fans, musical performances where you take requests, live behind-the-scenes videos – give fans something special.
  • Let fans know in advance on social media why they should tune in before the Premiere – and use your live stream to hype the upcoming Premiere: encourage viewers to stay tuned by giving shout outs to people watching or chatting.

It’s easy to set up a Live Redirect, but takes a bit of planning and coordination – learn more about setting up a Live Redirect here.

12Creating compelling Trailers for video Premieres

Here are some tips for creating Trailers that persuade fans to get excited about – and watch – your video Premieres:

  • Artists can set up a pre-recorded hype video – between 15 seconds and three minutes long – which fans will see playing on the Premiere watch page before the big event starts.
  • Trailers aren’t just a good way to get fans excited – it encourages them to set a reminder for the actual release of the Premiere and helps you shape the experience for fans.
  • It’s really simple: once you have got a Premiere set up, produce a Trailer that is fun, punchy, creative, enticing – whatever it is that excites your fans. Build that hype!
  • Don’t forget to tease fans with what’s going to be in the Premiere, and suggest they set a reminder too.
  • Then, in YouTube Studio, find your Premiere video, click Set up Premiere > Select Trailer, click the Trailer video – and then click Save. You’re now set!
  • Promote the Premiere on social media to grow your audience: share the link from the Premiere’s video details page in YouTube Studio, and celebrate or share fans’ social posts about the Trailer!

So if you are about to release a new video, why not try making a short Trailer to rustle up even more anticipation? Learn more about Premieres and Trailers here.

13Optimise your channel's branding with images, content layout, and channel trailers

An artist’s YouTube channel is increasingly as much a landing page for fans as it is a home to discover their videos. So when fans arrive, you want to keep them there – here are some tips and quick wins to help you optimise your channel’s branding with images, content layout, and channel trailers.

  • Create a channel trailer: this offers a preview of your channel so viewers can learn more – and subscribe. Ads won’t show on your channel trailer, unless your video contains third-party claimed content.
  • Organise your content with channel sections: organise and promote content that you want to highlight. A “section” lets you group videos together to help fans make decisions about what to watch. Think: how would people like to consume your videos?
  • Think carefully about your profile picture: this is the image shown to viewers all across YouTube, so what visual message do you want to send? It might not be the “obvious” image – or it could tie in with a current campaign.
  • Your banner image is important screen real estate: think about what you want to show here, and what it could encourage viewers to do or think. The minimum dimension for banners is: 2048 x 1152 px with an aspect ratio of 16:9.

Put some time aside to customise your channel layout with this page of tips and advice.

14Spontaneous livestreaming with YouTube's mobile live capability

Livestreaming has had a bit of a year – blowing up from almost nothing to the Next Big Thing, and now it’s reached a really important point: where it’s clearly a useful ongoing part of musicians’ lives. For many artists, it’ll work well as a spontaneous or on-the-go form of livestreaming via their smartphone. Here’s how to do it well and authentically with YouTube’s mobile live capability:

  • Going live via mobile is great as it allows exciting, spontaneous videos – which can result in great, equally spontaneous connections with your fans
  • Great things come from spontaneity: try streaming from places that fans don’t normally see but are intrigued by, like when you’re hanging out backstage, in the tour van, or in the studio
  • It’s easy to set up, too: your channel just needs to be verified, with no live stream restrictions in the last 90 days. Here’s how to avoid any restrictions
  • Getting started is as easy falling off a log (but less painful): in the YouTube app, tap Go Live, tap the camera icon to record with your camera, and create a title so that fans know what to expect… and you’re off!
  • Consider filming in landscape mode: when the livestream later becomes video-on-demand, playback will be best viewed by fans in landscape
  • Use live chat to speak to fans: answer their questions and show them the world around you. Maybe they have good suggestions for something you can do!
  • Advanced settings allow you to enable or disable the live chat, and add age restrictions, and even monetisation features

Try it out – go live and see what happens! Visit this Help Centre article – and get started with Mobile Live straight away.

15Setting up your channel to help the most people enjoy your videos

Why not take a moment to give your YouTube channel and its content a quick once-over to make sure everything is set up to help the most people to enjoy your videos? Here are some tips on quickly and effectively improving how you use your channel:

  • Can one underperforming video really hurt my channel? – No! If an artist releases one “bad” song or video, it’s very unlikely to hurt them overall. What matters more is how viewers respond to each video when it’s recommended to them – an engaged watch history will definitely help build long-lasting fandom.
  • Does timing matter for releasing videos? – Yes! Use YouTube Premieres to release your primary music video on the same day you release the audio track: having a great start matters, and can help achieve short-term goals like trending or charting. However, there’s no secret recipe for your additional videos (i.e. lyric videos).
  • Will changing thumbnails affect my video? – Yes! Changing your video’s title and thumbnail can have a real impact on its click-through rate – a major factor in performance. YouTube’s systems respond when viewers interact differently with your video, so if more viewers click the new thumbnail and enjoy the video, you can reach a wider audience!

A quick and highly effective place to start is by switching up your video thumbnail images – here’s how to test out which ones work best to increase clicks and views.

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