How To Use YouTube To Promote Your Artists’ Music

It’s all about getting tracks in front of the platform’s influencers

It’s no secret that playlists are a driving force in today’s music market — and getting your artists’ or clients’ tracks in front of the people who curate them should be an essential part of any promo campaign.

YouTube is arguably the most popular site on the Internet to discover new music. One common way people find new music is by subscribing to ‘channels’. Once they do that, they get notified whenever that channel uploads a new video. Breakthrough artist Mura Masa recently said in an interview that it was when his track got posted to the popular YouTube channel Majestic Causal that things really started to take off for him.

So how do you use YouTube to promote your artists’ or clients’ music?

Familiarise yourself with YouTube’s search

It’s safe to say that channels like Majestic Casual (with 3.5m subscribers) get sent a lot of music from labels and PR companies hoping to place their music. Depending on what sort of release you’re working with, it might benefit you to find a more specialist channel. To do this, you can either search for similar tracks to the one you’re promoting, or you can search for general terms that describe the kind of channels you’re looking for. Once you search, make sure to filter to only see ‘Channels’. Here’s an example:

It’s worth spending some time on this stage. As with all good promo campaigns, sending your music to the right people is the most important bit to get right.

You can clearly see vital stats in the search results like how many people are subscribed to the channel and how many videos they’ve uploaded. Another interesting thing to look at is how many plays the channel gets on their videos. To see that, click on the channel name, then click on ‘videos’ and sort by ‘most popular’. Also of interest is the ‘Related Channels’ box that appears on the channel page. This lists other channels that YouTube’s algorithm has decided are similar.

It’s worth spending some time on this stage. As with all good promo campaigns, sending your music to the right people is the most important bit to get right.

Sending your music

It can be tricky to know where to start when it comes to getting your artists’ music on popular YouTube playlists. We spoke to two of the platform’s influencers — Slav and OOUKFunkyOO — to find out more about how they decide what to share.

OOUKFunkyOO has 50,000 subscribers and over 16 million views for nearly 2000 videos, mostly featuring the lo-fi house sound that blew up last year. He’s one of a number of young VJs who have been curating music paired with their own music videos, whose aesthetic resembles a computer programmed to mix your grandma’s VHS tapes — albeit with a human touch.

“If I’m not feeling something, I’m not upping it, regardless of whether money is offered.”

“A lot of the music uploaded will be from friends I’ve made over the years or worked with on numerous occasions,” he says. “But if it’s an artist I’ve not posted before, then it’s likely just a submission that caught my attention.”

He prefers files to streams because of the time it saves going through all the submissions he receives. Audio file quality, however, is a deciding factor when it comes to what gets uploaded. “Don’t send 160kbps/VBR files. I delete them after one listen,” he warns. “I’ll still check them out of course, but as a usual rule if someone sends their music over in this low quality, to me it shows a lack of care for how it sounds and that doesn’t put much care on me wanting to promote it.”

OOUKFunkyOO says he has never accepted money before, but he has taken a commission to make a video for a song. “If I’m not feeling something, I’m not upping it, regardless of whether money is offered.”

“I appreciate originality and creativity, so feel free to experiment with how you submit your music.”

Slav has 63,0000 subscribers and nearly 13 million views and is host to a range of house music, including DJ Boring’s lo-fi banger, Winona. His visuals consist of a serene nature portrait or a photo resembling record cover art, a refreshing departure from the sex driven imagery of mega-promoter, Majestic Causal.

A DJ himself, the man behind Slav has a very natural process for choosing songs, and likes to take his time: “I refine the process through repeated listenings in different settings, sometimes with my eyes closed, sometimes dancing… or simply just sitting on my front porch with my headphones on, while I ponder life.”

“No fancy etiquette or rules apply,” he continues. “I appreciate originality and creativity, so feel free to experiment with how you submit your music.”

For Slav, the main focus is on quality music — though he’ll never turn down some wax. “Slav is a side project and so I don’t rely on people paying me, thus I can keep my integrity and stay true to myself when it comes to track selection,” he concludes. “Money helps though, especially in the form of vinyl.”

A note on monetisation

Some (but certainly not all) channels will ask for the rights to monetise your track on YouTube in exchange for posting your track — and if that happens you’ll have to decide whether this is the right move for your artist or client. YouTube monetisation is complicated, but the decision is likely to come down to whether you think the exposure the channel can give is worth the loss in YouTube streaming royalties.


Hopefully that’s given you some useful insight on how to leverage the power of YouTube and its playlist influencers to promote your artists’ or clients’ music. If you’ve tried any of these or have anything to add from your own experiences, drop us a line in the comments. We’re all ears!

Feedback Loop

Leading the music promo conversation - a FATdrop publication.

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James Osterlund

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Feedback Loop

Leading the music promo conversation - a FATdrop publication.