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YouTube Shorts for musicians

In this article we explain what YouTube Shorts are, why they are relevant for you as a musician and how you can use them for yourself and the promotion of your music.

Published on
June 28, 2023
Michael Schütz
Marketing Lead

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Short videos have become one of the most consumed media formats ever: starting with Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories and last but not least because of TikTok, short, vertical and therefore "mobile-friendly" videos have become increasingly popular. Of course, YouTube, the mother of all video platforms, did not want to miss out on this trend and has created a new format respectively product under its own name for short videos with YouTube Shorts.

What are YouTube Shorts?

YouTube Shorts are - as the name suggests - short videos that may be a maximum of 60 seconds long and are vertical in aspect ratio (9:16). Viewers can find the short videos, for example, by tapping Shorts at the bottom of the YouTube app to open the shorts player.

Introduction, first steps and best practices for YouTube Shorts:

For more info on how to create and earn revenue from short videos on YouTube, see here.

Why YouTube Shorts are relevant for musicians

As mentioned at the beginning, short videos are becoming more and more popular. The YouTube Shorts player now has more than 6.5 billion views per day! So it's a huge amount of attention that you can be a part of with interesting content and a bit of luck.

Music is a key element in shareable short videos and social networks have a major impact on the music industry. Short-form video platforms like TikTok and YouTube Shorts catapult artists into the charts thanks to viral videos. If one of your songs is used in a video that goes viral, it can change your career forever.

Unlike music streaming services like Spotify & Co., the popularity of a song on YouTube Shorts or TikTok is not based on how often it has been streamed, but how many people have used it in their videos. Music can easily be added to shorts: just tap "Add sound" when creating a short video and then choose from available songs & sounds. If you have published your own music on YouTube, you can then also select it at this point and be compensated as a music partner when your music is used and listened to (later in the article we explain how to get your music on YouTube).

In addition, with Shorts you can now also earn money as a creator via the YouTube Partner Programme (YPP), for which you have to meet certain requirements - you can find more detailed information here. Furthermore, you can read more about the monetisation guidelines for YouTube Shorts here.

YouTube is also relevant for musicians because it is the new MTV (Music Television): most music videos are now published and watched on YouTube. Short videos can be used here as shorts in a platform, which is also practical for the viewer. For example, you can use a teaser as a short video to draw attention to your new music video, which is then a longer "normal" YouTube video, and direct your fans and interested parties to it. In addition, YouTube has its own music streaming service, YouTube Music, on which you can publish your songs via MusicHub, for example. YouTube is therefore a complete ecosystem for videos and music, with a large number of users.

Last but not least, short videos (and therefore YouTube Shorts) are here to stay. It is unlikely that this format will soon cease to play a role in a world where almost everything is getting faster and faster and attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.

How you can use YouTube Shorts for yourself and to promote your music.

Here are a few ideas on how you can use YouTube Shorts for yourself and your promotion:

  • Teasers: use Shorts to announce and build excitement e.g. for new music releases or live performances.
  • Snippets: Recycle existing longer video content to cut snippets that you can then use as short videos in 9:16 for corresponding formats (YouTube Shorts, Instagram Stories, TikTok, etc.). The same applies to new longer video content, of course.
  • Acoustic versions: Film acoustic versions of your (or other) songs to showcase musical talent and creative variation, then share the best parts from it via YouTube Shorts and the full video as a regular YouTube video.
  • Behind-the-scenes material: Capture short impressions off-stage from your everyday life as an artist. Impressions can be captured in the rehearsal room, backstage at a concert, on the road or simply at home. The main thing is that it is interesting or entertaining in some way.
  • Collabs: Use Shorts to collaborate with other artists and share it with your fans and followers. Possibilities include collaborative songwriting or challenges.
  • Besides challenges, there are always other trends that are hot on YouTube that can be suitable for you and the promotion of your music.

Remember to optimise your shorts for discovery (i.e. for the algorithm to show YouTube users new/relevant content) by using relevant keywords, hashtags and good thumbnails for your videos. Interact with fans & viewers by responding to their comments. Hints to follow, like and share your channel don't hurt either. Consistency is the key to success, so upload new shorts regularly to build and maintain momentum.

If you want to know more about promotion at this point, head over to our article "DIY music promotion".

How to get your own music on YouTube Shorts

Through MusicHub of course! When you publish your music to YouTube via MusicHub, it is registered via YouTube Content ID and can then be used for YouTube Shorts by you and all other users. YouTube Content ID is a digital fingerprint of your music - so YouTube can recognise when your music is used in videos that are uploaded to the platform and later remunerate the music partners accordingly.

If you don't use MusicHub yet - it's easy, here's how:

  1. Register with MusicHub
  2. If you are not a GEMA member: Subscribe
  3. Release your music easily, securely & quickly on YouTube and all important music platforms.

We wish you much success and fun with YouTube Shorts!

Photo Credit blog cover: © Nik/Unsplash

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