How musicians can create better quality YouTube videos

Digital agency Burstimo give us their essential advice for producing quality YouTube video content…


YouTube can be a brilliant platform for new music makers to find an audience and get their music out there.

But how do you ensure quality when creating them? With five billion videos watched on the platform every day, it can be a real challenge for acts and musicians looking to stand out with their content.  

Digital agency Burstimo are experts when it comes to all things music and online. So, following their great Instagram guide, we went to them for their essential advice on how artists can not only create content but make sure it’s worth watching too… 

From a new artist perspective, have you any tips on how they can create high quality and engaging YouTube videos? 

For an artist to create successful and engaging content for YouTube, you need to firstly just start producing it. No channel will blow up and gain subscribers from their first video, nor will you be able to nail it every single time. If you go to any YouTube channel and sort their videos from oldest to new, you will be able to see just how much they improved from their very first upload.

You’ll never know what is going to work for your channel and attract an audience until you start uploading videos and look at the statistics." 

Creating content as an artist is difficult. Your life as a musician involves playing shows and working in the studio which limits your opportunity for making videos. However, we’re seeing a new breed of artist coming through who can’t be ignored. They start by creating content, then release music to their audience. A great example of this is Scotty Sire who’s getting as many as 14m views on his music videos:

What's your top tip for creating YouTube content?

The biggest tip is to make videos which add value to the audience - the viewers need to be receiving something. Artists when looking for inspiration have a tendency to look at established artists who already have millions of views, then copy their content.

However, an established artist can generate interest on a behind the scenes video or simply videos which are focussed on themselves. A new artist doesn’t have this level of attention yet and therefore needs to create videos where people click not just for who they are, but for what the content is. It also hugely helps to understand how the YouTube algorithm works.

What needs to be in place for a YouTube video to succeed and ride the platform's algorithm? 

A common misconception is that the number of views a video receives means the more likely it is for the algorithm to push it out. It is in-fact the watch-time which YouTube is looking for. YouTube earns its money through ad revenue, and the longer they can keep people on their platform and consuming videos the more ads they can show them.

This means if your video keeps people on YouTube for a long time and then they go on to watch further videos, the platform will favour your channel over other channels which just receive one single view.

Aside from the content, the title and thumbnail is so important on YouTube as your click-through rate is a major factor in whether the algorithm pushes out your video.

Simply putting your artist name, track title and a still from the music video as the title and thumbnail just isn’t going to get you clicks, nor is it going to trigger any keywords for those searching."

Once this is considered, it’s easy to see why it’s so hard for music videos to succeed on the platform. If a channel does not achieve authority or any kind of ongoing theme, it won’t push out music videos from emerging artists. If users are suggested a music video but they aren’t clicking on the thumbnail (mainly because they’ve never heard of the artist) then YouTube will stop showing it to others and find another video which users may prefer.

So to really succeed as an emerging artist who is just using YouTube as a promotional tool, you need to build up a subscriber base by uploading content which people are searching for. This then builds your channel’s authority so you can then release a music video which continues the trend of a clickbait thumbnail and title. Something like “The $1 Music Video” would be very YouTube algorithm friendly. Then once your track picks up you can edit title and thumbnail reverting to an artist/track title formula.

In terms of the mechanics of creating your video content, what equipment do you need? 

An iPhone 6 is sufficient. The quality of the footage isn’t going to be the difference as to whether someone watches your content. You can begin investing in equipment once things are picking up.

Have you any advice about lighting? And should content be landscape/portrait? 

For YouTube the content should always be landscape. The next investments should be audio followed by lighting. Most people only watch content which is 1080p anyway which is what most iPhones record in.

How can you ensure your content is easy to find? What important elements do you need to consider? 

Having keywords in the title and description is the best way to get your content found. We also recommend uploading a subtitle file to every video which furthers the keywords and makes it easier for the algorithm to categorise your videos."

It’s widely believed that the YouTube ‘tags’ are useless and don’t impact anything.

As a new artist, how can you generate income from YouTube? What do you need to do?

If your content is consistently receiving views, the first step would be to look for brands to send you some free products to feature in your videos. Once your channel is big enough you can begin to have sponsored content, affiliate Amazon links in the description and finally the Ad sense revenue which YouTube provides.

Are there any common mistakes or misconceptions new artists make/have about how to use YouTube? 

I believe the biggest misconception is the number of views to expect on a music video on YouTube. There’s hundreds of websites out there which will allow you to buy fake views, likes and comments which has caused an inflation effect on the value of one single YouTube view.

An artist can reach 1,000 views and be disappointed that it wasn’t 1 million. But now we know what we do about the YouTube algorithm, 1,000 views is a great place to build upon.

Read our previous 10 essential tips for new artists using YouTube

Visit for more information. 

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by Jim Ottewill
October 7, 2019
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