How to create a YouTube channel for your music/band
If you are a musical performer, whether solo or in a band and you don’t have a YouTube channel yet, you’re missing out on an incredible way to build your fanbase.
It’s understandable why you might have avoided YouTube up to this point, maybe you saw it as only the realm of vloggers or live streamers, a place where video creation reigns supreme and you’d be right.
However, what you might not realize is that YouTube is also the single biggest platform for streaming music online. It offers up the opportunity to become part of a huge community of other creatives and artists and you can directly access and engage with your audience, a proven method to building a loyal fanbase.
It’s never been more important for independent artists to have a strong social presence and if you want to be where the people are, build a presence on YouTube.
Steps to set up channel
So now we have you convinced, let’s look at some of the steps you’ll need to take when setting up your YouTube channel.
Step 1: Branding
Branding is an important consideration not just from the perspective of starting a YouTube channel. You want to maintain a brand that reflects your style and sound.
This goes from your name to your logo and album artwork, as well as your overall digital presence. Check out our article on how to pick a band name if you need help on that front.
Where YouTube is concerned, consistent branding takes into account your logo, banner, video thumbnails and endscreens.
- Logo – Your logo will set the expectations for your audience in terms of the sound they can expect from your music. Make sure your logo reflects your style and doesn’t clash with an audience’s expectations. You don’t need to hire a designer to create a great band or artist logo.
- Banner – The YouTube banner or channel art is a great place to include information on upcoming tour dates or album or single releases. Make sure to keep it on brand but use the opportunity to promote to your audience.
- Thumbnails – Thumbnails should be eye catching and should make an audience want to click. Tease the story of your song or create mystery or intrigue. Make sure to take pictures specifically with the thumbnail in mind.
- Endscreens – The end screen is a great chance to get viewers to watch another video or to give them a reminder and the opportunity to subscribe to your channel.
Creating all these assets doesn’t need to be an expensive task, nor does it need you to have any design skills at all. Online design tools such as logo makers and YouTube thumbnail makers make creating brand assets easy and affordable.
The main thing to remember is to create a brand with colors and a feeling that reflects the style and sound of your music.
Step 2: Content/Programming strategy
Official music videos are great. They can be highly polished works of art that perfectly compliment your track, pulling in audiences and getting hundreds, thousands even millions of views. Unfortunately, they take a long time to make and can be an expensive creation.
Viewers will only keep coming back if they have new content to consume. We suggest treating your official music videos as ‘Tentpole’ or ‘Event’ videos that you build other content around.
What other content you ask?
There are tons of different ways you can fill out a YouTube channel, all you need to do is get creative. Here’s a few suggestions to get you started:
- Lyric videos
- Live shows or song performances
- Acoustic sessions
- A recurring Vlog when you’re touring, recording or writing
- Interviews and Q&A content
- Your own versions of popular songs
- ‘Making of’ videos
Step 3: Creating videos
One of the biggest barriers that stops people getting started on YouTube is they don’t know how to produce good videos.
Professional quality video doesn’t need to be an aim, audiences can be quite forgiving when it comes to how well your videos are filmed, and the quality will doubtless improve over time anyway.
Here’s a few things to consider before pointing a camera that might give your videos a little polish from the start:
- Record in a space that’s on brand. Maybe you have regular access to a studio or cool rehearsal space. Find somewhere that ties into your brand image, or at least is clean and neutral.
- Use your phone to record the video, in almost all modern smartphones, the camera will be good enough. Make sure to use an external microphone, if you’re going to spend any money improving an element of your video production, spend it on audio!
- Spend a little time learning basic video editing. There are hundreds of hours of free courses on YouTube, or if you would rather, Fiverr has a host of creative professionals who can edit your clips for a low price.
Step 4: Relevancy
The key to success on YouTube is putting out content that is interesting to your target audience. Keep this in mind when you’re deciding on your video titles and tagging your videos.
While you will almost definitely want to title official singles, ‘Name – Song title (Official)’ or ‘Song title – Name (Official)’ that same strategy might not work for your other videos.
Think about a potential viewer’s search intent. Are they looking for a particular genre of music or a mood that the music might invoke? Include keywords that might relate to their search intent in your video titles and try to come up with ones that might intrigue or entice someone to click.
Official artist channel
Have you browsed the YouTube channel of a favourite band or artist and noticed the little music note next to their channel name? And have you wondered what that note is and how you might get one?
Well it’s not just a cute musical addition, the ‘upgrade’ has some serious advantages for musicians on the platform. Let us tell you not only what that is, but how you might go about getting one of your own.
The note shows that this creator is part of the YouTube for Artists program. It’s similar to the blue tick on Instagram, letting viewers know this is an official, verified channel.
But that’s not all it does, this little note also upgrades your channel to include more music specific features unavailable to your run of the mill vlogger or gamer.
An Official Artist Channel makes it easier for artists to manage their music on the platform, gives you more control over what your fans see first and also gives fans a single destination where they can go to listen to your music and engage with you as a creator.
Here are the requirements to be considered for an Official Artist Channel:
- The Channel must be managed by you, your label or manager
- You need to have released at least one album
- You have to have uploaded at least 3 videos of any kind.
Once you’ve upgraded, an Artist topic card is automatically generated, this appears on the top right-hand side of the screen when someone searches your name and contains any official music videos or art tracks you have uploaded to YouTube.
The upgrade also comes with some new layout options for your channel. Top shelf and feature video where you can put whatever videos you want. A channel trailer, latest single or announcement video are some of the best uses for this slot.
The next two shelves auto generate:
- Official music – this will feature videos pulled from any official sources related to your music
- Discography – this will feature your songs organised by album
As well as this, YouTube for Artists gives you access to custom analytics with breakdowns of top songs, top music videos and in-depth geographical data that could help with tour planning and targeted promotion.
Your official profile on YouTube also acts as a press kit giving you increased visibility and letting you add images of yourself or your band that are different from your channel icon and banner.
- Images should be rectangular and in landscape mode
- Size must be at least 5120 x 2880 pixels.
- Resolution must be at least 150 dpi.
- You can only upload JPG or PNG format images.
- Your image will be cropped into a square and a circle, so make sure you have enough space around the edges of your image.
- Images must show your face or faces in the profile image – do not use text or album art.
YouTube For Artists also allows eligible artists to promote their concerts and tours next to their videos. An option can be accessed to allow viewers watching official music content to see a shelf containing tour dates just below the video. To access this feature you must:
- Have an existing Official Artist Channel
- Have a music attraction ID with supported ticketers.
- Have an upcoming concert in any of the supported countries.
An official Artist Channel also gives you greater control over the way your music is accessed and used by others on the platform. Once you have Content ID, you can manage your music rights at scale and earn revenue from videos that contain your copyrighted content.
Promote your channel
Your channel is an amazing place to house all your content in an accessible and easy to navigate location. In addition to the music itself, you can also update your bio/about me page to include your story, talk about your journey as an artist and the influences on your work.
Check out our advice on how to write a bio for an overview of what information to include. You can also tie-in to your wider digital presence, including links to your website and other social channels in your bio and in all your video descriptions.
YouTube is an amazing place to build an audience and develop a community around you and your work. Engage with the audience in the comments section and on the community tab, find out directly from them what content they would like you to produce and use their insight to guide your creative journey moving forward.
A final consideration is the other promotional means available within the platform. Cross channel promotions are a great way to access the audience of a similar artist or group. Collaborate with other artists, cover each other’s songs, interview one another.
Find any opportunity you can to trade audiences with other musicians and your own fan base will grow as a result.
There you have it, some of the main considerations when setting up a YouTube channel. We know that’s a lot to take in, so let us sum it up in three key points:
- Start Creating – Consider consistent branding, make sure all the visuals on your channel are consistent. Implement a content strategy and consider how to improve the quality of your videos, but ultimately, just start getting content on the site!
- Become an Official Artist – There are many benefits to becoming an official artist on YouTube, not least, a greater chance of exposure. But you also gain greater control of how your fans consume and engage with your music.
- Promote – Promote the channel itself across all your other social platforms, but also promote yourself within YouTube by collaborating with other artists to tap-in to their audiences.
Good luck and always keep creating!