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Youtube and Your DIY Band

Fuckin’ no one is taking advantage of Youtube as much as they should. I swear to god – the first underground band who properly GETS IT is going to get huge. There are a few who have started to crack the myths and suck it up and they might just explode. There is a weird and titanic Youtube culture out there that I don’t think I will ever understand. What I do understand though is that there is a shit ton of money to be made and that Youtube is the single best way to market to people under the age of 18 and it is probably still the worlds biggest streaming site. I know it has a bad reputation as a den of trolls, debauchery, violence and sin, but guess what, if it has the potential to change your financial life then maybe you should s top acting all high and mighty and think a little bit about how Youtube can help you to grow.

So if Youtube is getting all this traffic and breaking independent artists all the time why haven’t any of your friends bands gotten big with it? Well that’s because most of them are only doing like one music video per release and maybe another lyric video or two. Now that’s very cool and can be super helpful, but let’s be real – that’s not enough to dominate the dialogue. Youtube stars out there are uploading at least a couple of videos a week. What they have come to realize is that it doesn’t matter if the song they are playing is especially high quality. What matters is that the recording quality is good and that they are producing meaningful content. So, if you’re out there and you upload a badass quick play through on your laptop that’s going to go places. Especially if you’re doing one a week. Youtube favors channels that get more views and post more content. Well by uploading a ton of videos you are going to get exactly that.

Of course it’s not just a question of uploading a ton of videos, you need to make sure that they are properly tagged. This can be tricky since it’s fairly different from say, Instagram hashtags. Instead you should tag all the instruments you are using, all the genres you are playing as well as relevant affiliated genres and some of your main musical influences. So if you upload a playthrough of your latest modern emo song you should probably tag Modern Baseball, pop punk, acoustic rock, The Front Bottoms and things like that. This will start to drive traffic towards your video. It’s fairly intuitive. Just realize that doing a ton of tags that are borderline irrelevant is going to guarantee that your video is de-prioritized in the algorithm. This is going to make your uploads essentially meaningless, the exact opposite of the goal of having a strong Youtube presence. Be careful and be sure to emulate some of your peers having success on this platform.

Simultaneously, appreciate that adding things like details and a relevant title is going to help. It’s wise to have video titles include your band name. It’s also smart for song videos to have the complete lyrics in the description. I know it sounds stupid but it’s an easy way to sort of hack SEO and have people accidentally stumble across your band. The goal of course is to show up in as many searches as possible and this is an easy way to add a ton of content that is directly relevant to your band and which Google is going to profit on since Youtube is already a part of their service. Being sure to reply to all the comments is going to help too – if only because it eliminates barriers and makes people feel like you are paying attention to them. I know that this can be tricky, but it’s a key way to keep on developing the brand.

Be sure too to have lots of channels and playlists. This is the more social media-esque aspect of Youtube. You want to have a lot of good content for people to sift through and also to point people towards the content that you like so that you will be seen as a thought leader. If your page is just a hodgepodge of uploads, it doesn’t matter how good your video content is it will still be hard to sort and people aren’t going to spend a ton of time with it. However if you are carefully curating how things get uploaded and handled then folks who navigate over to your page are going to be a lot more likely to subscribe because things are going to be fed to them rather easily. Having different playlists and channels is good too because it means that you can upload a variety of different types of content and have it all under one umbrella. Look at some of the top Youtube content producers and emulate them, it can only help.

I’m not going to lie. Having an effective Youtube presence is a shit ton of work. For every five minute video that your favorite Youtuber uploads they put in hours of work. That being said – this is where the kids are and this is how you get peoples attention. I know people get self conscious and don’t want to pull back the veil, but right now video is king. Working hard to develop a Youtube presence that is relevant and powerful is going to help you a lot. This sort of thing sucks to create I know, but once you start generating video content you can use it on all your platforms and soon you will find yourself hurtling towards success.

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