We spoke to YouTube stars Maddie Wilson, Noah Guthrie, and Ali Brustofski about how they used YouTube to build their career. For this post, we've compiled their 6 most essential tips on how to build a devoted fanbase using one of the world's most popular websites.
Quality and consistency are the two most important factors
This was far and away the most popular piece of advice we heard. You have to establish a consistent schedule when posting content for your fans — the more they can come to expect a new video at a certain time each day or week, the more likely you are the draw them back in. And always keep upping the quality of your videos, whether through better equipment or higher production value.
Learn how this YouTube star created a passionate audience using simple but effective techniques that any emerging artist can benefit from.
From a young age, Ali Brustofksi had a passion for music. She grew up watching her dad, a musical theater performer, and knew that she needed to be on a stage. After trying her hand at theater, she discovered that writing and sharing her own material was the path for her. She wanted to create her own voice, “instead of playing a character onstage.”
Learn how Maddie Wilson used YouTube to grow a loyal fanbase and check out some exclusive tips for getting the most out of YouTube.
A few years ago, Maddie Wilson saw YouTube becoming a destination for music lovers, and she needed to get in on the action. Recording covers of her favorite songs songs seemed like an easy way to break into the scene, so she started posting when she was about 13.
Looking to use YouTube as more than just a way to share your latest video? Here are some tips from GLEE star Noah Guthrie on how to advance your career using one of the world’s biggest music discovery sites.
1) Have a Continuous Stream of Content
“Have that set day where you want to post, every week or every other week. For whatever reason 1-4 or 2-5 PM seems to be the golden time to post videos on YouTube.”
2) Choose the Right Songs
“You want to choose something that’s super popular so you get views, but at the same time, if you do that all the time you get super bored and burnt out. There are only so many pop artists on the scene, so you get bored if you don’t do what you love. But you know, I think it’s more of the actual content — people don’t really care too much about the song. “
3) Have Good Content
“Honestly, it may sound silly, but just make sure you have good content. You know, if you’re doing a cover of a song don’t half-do the cover — do the best you can do and make it your own because no one wants to hear the same song over and over and over again. That’s not why they’re going to your YouTube page.”
4) Get Creative
“For me, when I have to translate something to just me and an acoustic, I might have to re-work the song’s bridge. Not because I think it was bad or anything like that, but just because it just won’t work for what I’m doing. I can’t just go to the bridge of the song and hit one note and do a bass drop with my mouth. I have to put new chords there…but that’s actually fun.”
5) Use It As a Tool
“I’ve met a lot people where that’s their job, YouTube. You can buy a house off of YouTube, or a car. But for me, it’s always been just another tool, just like GLEE was a tool. For me it’s always about the song and my original stuff, that’s my goal.”
Noah Guthrie first started using YouTube as a way to share his music with family and friends. But after his acoustic cover of U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” led to an endorsement from Ellen DeGeneres, Noah knew YouTube was a chance to create real success.
The [U2] video got me a ton of exposure, so we thought, ‘The video got seen by Ellen, who else can it get seen by?’
So Noah put together as much of his own original material as he could and hit the road, eventually getting spotted by Selena Gomez (who helped him land a manager). He began posting more and more videos, but his biggest break came from the unlikely pairing of his soulful voice with LMFAO’s hit single, “Sexy and I Know It.” The video received millions of views in just its first week, and it currently boasts more than 23 million views.
The video’s success, along with his avid touring, lead to him performing on shows like NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and securing a role on the final season of GLEE.
Noah is currently hard at work on a new album, and he isn’t worried about navigating the crossover from YouTube star to bonafide musician:
I’ve been really lucky that people will come to my shows because of YouTube or Glee, but they always stay for my stuff and leave with an album…I’m just very lucky.
In addition to working at ReverbNation both as a Customer Support rep and a copywriter for the Marketing department, I have spent the last eight years playing music in the Triangle music scene (Raleigh, Durham, & Chapel Hill). My bands Lilac Shadows, T0W3RS, and Soft Company have toured the east coast and released several full-length albums, EPs, and splits with other area bands.
Everyone acknowledges that the Internet and social media changed the game for independent musicians, providing powerful tools to engage current fans and reach new ones. But while this hyper-connectivity and one-click sharing encourages us all to think on a global scale, I’d like emphasize the value of thinking small — specifically, how important your own local music scene remains.
This is a guest post from Shannon Curtis, an independent musician, recording artist, and author based in Los Angeles.
“If only …
… that one music supervisor could hear my new song, then …”
… that one label rep could catch one of my shows, then …”
… that one venue would return my email and give me a good time slot on a great bill, then …”
… then what?
Independent musicians, myself included, often think that there is one road to “success” when it comes to a career in music.
The reality is, being a career musician looks different for everyone…and the roads we each travel can be extremely varied. I believe I’ve discovered path to independent success for artists who want to build their fanbase, create a successful music career, and own 100% of the results. [Tweet This]
In March, twin sisters Brooke and Brit Graeff of Good Graeff took time out of their crazy touring schedule to stop by our office in Durham, NC to hang out and play a short set for our Passing Through series.
Good grief, they were entertaining! We talked about everything from recording a music video overseas to funding their tour through a Kickstarter campaign. Afterwards, they graced us with the sweet sounds of their lively, upbeat folk music, Brit’s cello and the playful, yet painfully honest lyrics sung by Brooke.
Crowdfunding is nothing new in the music world (check out our previous post on 5 tips for crowdfunding success). Yet recently Kickstarter has become a standout as a popular fundraising platform for independent musicians.
ReverbNation artists Graham Colton, Jonny Gray, Long Gone Day and Good Graeff used Kickstarter to fund their own independent work, from albums to tours to making it to festivals. Read more about their experiences and important takeaways you can learn from as you plan your own Kickstarter campaign.