How to Grow Your YouTube Channel as a Musician | flowkey (2022)

Building a YouTube following can be tough. It’s a highly saturated platform with 400 hours of video uploaded every minute, and you’re competing against established channels. But if you do it right, you can do amazing things.

Peter PlutaX, one of our flowkey affiliates, started from scratch and now has over 2.8 million subscribers.

In this guide we look at tried-and-tested methods used by channels like Peter PlutaX, and how you can use them to grow a YouTube musician channel. We look at what each of your videos must do, how to bring users to your channel, how to keep them engaged, and how to stay consistent as you produce more videos.

Each of your videos must...

Be valuable to your viewers

This is the most essential element. Give the viewer something they value and they will keep coming back for more. A few video types that get good engagement are:

  • Covers. Current hits get more views and potential followers. Be relevant and think of timing, so Christmas songs for Christmas and love songs for Valentine’s.
  • Tutorials. In-depth, step-by-step guides to songs, or the music theory you just covered. Composing, improvising, that kind of thing.
  • Behind-the-scenes. This is where you lift the curtain on your process and showcase some of your personality. How you wrote an arrangement, what software you use, your personal tips and tricks, and so on.

You don’t have to stick to these. Daniel Thrasher makes hilarious musical videos that don’t fall into these categories, but he makes people laugh. And that’s valuable.

Have a unique look and feel

Consider how to best communicate with your audience. Will you talk directly to the camera, or would you rather never show your face? Also consider whether you want your channel to be funny, serious, artistic or melancholic. Be true to yourself, and keep it consistent. These decisions will define your distinct YouTube “personality”.

(Video) How to get 50,000 Subscribers in a Year | How to Grow Your Music YouTube Channel

Every video should feel familiar, even if the subject is different every time.

Check out these four video thumbnails from different very successful channels - you can already imagine that each has a unique YouTube personality hiding behind them.

How to Grow Your YouTube Channel as a Musician | flowkey (1)How to Grow Your YouTube Channel as a Musician | flowkey (2)

Get the technical side right

Videos that look and sound good give the viewer a more pleasant experience. It can feel overwhelming at first, but there are a few pieces of equipment that will help:

  • Camera. If you can afford to spend a few hundred dollars or euros, a mirrorless or DSLR camera will help create beautiful videos. But if you’re on a budget, then a smartphone or webcam with high-quality video is also an excellent start.
  • Microphone. You can get a decent “studio” or “condenser” microphone for around 150 dollars or euros. Search online and you will find models that connect directly via USB and come in packs along with other accessories.
  • Tripod or Gimbal. This is to stabilize your camera and allows you to set the camera in a specific spot every time so your videos are consistent. Simple tripods can be found online for as low as ten dollars or euros.
  • Lighting. Good lighting can make simple videos look incredible, and controlling it can help videos look consistent. Experiment with the type of lighting that suits the look you’re going for, whether umbrella, softbox, or on-camera.
  • Video Editing Software. After recording the video, you need to edit each shot into the final polished version. You can find free editing software online, but for more flashy techniques you may have to buy more advanced software. Of course, the level of editing depends on how you want to present yourself. For example, the videos on Jacob’s Piano mostly use a single unedited shot, and they get millions (often tens of millions) of views.

To get people clicking...

Think about thumbnails

An attractive thumbnail gets more clicks. 90% of top-performing videos on YouTube use a custom thumbnail rather than an auto-generated one, so consider creating one for each video. Make sure you theme them so your thumbnails are consistent with your channel’s style. Take a look at Peter PlutaX for a meme-worthy attention-grabbing style, or Jacob’s Piano for a more classical polished look.

Make yourself easy to find

Where you rank in YouTube’s search results is mainly based on two factors:

(Video) How YouTube Works To Make SMALL Channels GROW!

  1. How well the metadata of your video (title, description, keywords) fits the user’s search query.
  2. How your video has engaged users (likes, comments, watch time).

There are many other mysterious factors at play, so it’s hard to “game” the YouTube algorithm. A quick search for “YouTube SEO” (Search Engine Optimization) will give you plenty of detail, but there are a few simple, reliable ways to help:

  • Use relevant hashtags. You are allowed 15 in the description, and YouTube will display the first three above the video title.
  • Write a unique video description. Only the first three lines are relevant for SEO, but this is also where to put links to your social media, Patreon, affiliates, etc. You can also use this as a mini-blog, to provide more details about the song, give updates, and connect with your audience.
  • Add accurate keywords to your video title.
  • Keep titles and opening credits short.

Periodic table of YouTube’s critical success factors

The table below has all the essentials you need to consider for success on YouTube, in order of priority. Save this and pin it above your workstation, so you don’t forget anything.

How to Grow Your YouTube Channel as a Musician | flowkey (3)How to Grow Your YouTube Channel as a Musician | flowkey (4)


Promote yourself across social channels

Post new videos on your other social channels like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. More awareness is always better, especially at the start when every view counts.

To keep viewers after the video ends...

Add End Screens. Your video held the viewer’s attention right to the end, that’s great. Now you want to direct their next move. Attractive end screens are the way to do that.

(Video) From 0 to 1,000 Subscribers FASTER: 9 Tips to Grow a New YouTube Channel

Create video series and playlists. Another way to keep viewers on your channel is to autoplay the next video in a series or playlist. They need to naturally lead into each other so viewers stay interested, and don’t click away to another video.

Convince viewers to subscribe. Ask viewers to subscribe and click the little notification bell so they get a notification every time you upload a video. More subscribers also means more organic reach for your videos. It’s social proof: we are more likely to subscribe to a channel that we can see other people like.

Keep people engaged

User engagement (likes, comments and watch time) is one of the two main factors that pushes you up the YouTube search rankings. The best way to keep viewers engaged is to start a conversation and make them feel valued.

Ask users to suggest video topics in comments. It helps your viewers feel like they’re part of the process, and is a great way to generate ideas.

Communicate in the comments. This means liking and replying to comments under your videos and in your Community tab. Remember, keep it friendly.

Use the Community tab. Like a social media feed, this is a great way of keeping users engaged when you don’t have a new post to promote. Repost older videos, merchandise or anything else to keep people interested.

(Video) How To Grow an Electronic Music Channel (ft. MixMag)

Use Pinned Comments. These stay at the top of the comments, so each viewer will see it first. You can ask questions for people to discuss in the comments, or just use it like a mini-blog to give more information on the video.

As you produce more videos...

Be consistent with uploads

New content keeps people interested, so at the start you should give it to them as often as possible without dropping your standards. You don’t have to post a video every day: multiple posts per week on a regular schedule can quickly get your channel noticed by the algorithm.

Keep it consistent so viewers know when to expect videos. It could be every Monday, or Wednesday. Whatever works for you.

Develop a workflow

Make it as easy as possible for yourself. Set up a small video studio so when it’s time to shoot, you can simply turn on the lights and get started. Create a routine around the process, from thinking up video ideas to recording, editing and uploading them.

Treat it like a job. And maybe one day, it can be.

Stay motivated

It’s worth saying twice: Building a following is hard. It can feel demotivating in the first few months (or even years) if your channel isn’t growing as fast as you had hoped. It’s highly competitive, but don’t give up. The more you produce, the better you will get. Keep making excellent videos and sharing them over other social media. Stay engaged with your viewers to work out what they like, and how to give it to them.

(Video) If YOUR YouTube Channel Isn't Growing Do This

Good luck! The flowkey team is rooting for you.

If you want to speak to the team about our affiliate program, please get in touch at [emailprotected]


How can I boost my music career? ›

How to promote music in 2022
  1. Sign up to artists services. ...
  2. Build a website & mailing list. ...
  3. Develop an engaging social presence. ...
  4. Get playlisted. ...
  5. Get press & blog coverage. ...
  6. Music videos. ...
  7. Surround yourself with a strong team. ...
  8. Know your audience & focus on your niche.
1 Jan 2022

How do I get my music noticed? ›

How to Get Your Music Noticed Online: 5 Tips for Artists
  1. Put Your Music on Streaming Platforms. ...
  2. Arrange Distribution Through a Music Distribution Service. ...
  3. Create Online Playlists and Add Your Own Music to Them. ...
  4. Utilize Social Media. ...
  5. Submit Music to Online Radio Stations and Music Blogs.
14 Oct 2021

How do music artists grow? ›

5 Ways to Promote Your Tracks and Grow your Fanbase as an Artist or Manager
  1. Use Social Media the Right Way. Having an active presence on social media in the digital age is extremely important when it comes to marketing music. ...
  2. Network in the Real World. ...
  3. Collaborate with Other Artists. ...
  4. Send Demos. ...
  5. Music Education.
3 Nov 2022

What makes a musician successful? ›

The success of a musician lies in his daily practice. Successful musicians make practicing a vital thing like breathing and eating. Passion for music is not enough to achieve a career in music, practicing every day is what helps one to grow and improvise in music. By practicing daily, a musician rises above others.

How do musicians get followers? ›

Instagram for Musicians: How to Gain New Followers?
  1. Completely fill out your Instagram profile.
  2. Develop a strong visual identity to gain new followers.
  3. Fill out your Instagram profile.
  4. Be present on other social medias to grow your followers.
  5. Follow people strategically.
  6. Pay attention to your descriptions.
17 Dec 2021

How does a song go viral? ›

The first step to make your music go viral is to have something share-worthy! It has to be either so good people can't help but share (like Beyonce), or have a media component tied to it that appeals to your audience. Think about Old Town Road by Lil Nas X, the song went viral and his music career sky-rocketed.

How can I promote myself as a musician? ›

7 top marketing strategies for musicians
  1. Determine your fanbase. ...
  2. Keep both potential and current fans in mind. ...
  3. Develop a social media marketing strategy. ...
  4. Cultivate a community around your music. ...
  5. Send your music to blogs, playlists, and press outlets. ...
  6. Create and monetize your own artist website. ...
  7. Pay for a PR/radio campaign.
2 Nov 2021

How do I find my audience as a musician? ›

It may be self-explanatory, but your target audience is made up of the people who commonly listen to your music. This is defined by a variety of things, including where they live, how old they are, what genres of music they are most interested in, and what their interests are.

How much does Spotify pay for 1 million streams? ›

Spotify pays between $0.001 and $0.008 per stream to artists. This means that if your song is streamed one million times on Spotify, you can expect to earn between $1,000 and $8,000.

Can a music video go viral? ›

One of the best methods to get your music video to gain viral success is to use digital marketing platforms that help you gain potential fans and organic followers. There are many such platforms available on the market but each artist has its own requirements and expectations.

How much do music videos pay? ›

As of Nov 12, 2022, the average annual pay for a Music Video Producer in the United States is $58,435 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $28.09 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,123/week or $4,869/month.

What platform gives musicians the most money? ›

As an artist-centric streaming service, Tidal has one of the highest royalty payment rates in the music industry. Paying nearly 3 times as much as other high volume music streaming services, Tidal pays roughly $0.01284 per stream.

How many streams do you need to make a living off music? ›

So, you will need around 170,000 streams on Spotify and 85,000 streams on Apple Music to reach a minimum wage income. For a whole year, this number will come out to around 3.06 million streams on both platform that you will need to be able to make a living.

Is streaming good for musicians? ›

To earn a single dollar through Spotify, an artist would need around 229 streams. For the upper echelon of artists, many of whom receive billions of streams, streaming can generate substantial income.

How much is 10k streams on Spotify? ›

As for how much Spotify pays per stream, they pay roughly $0.04 per 10 streams. So, 1000 streams would be around $4, and 100,000 streams would be $400.

What makes an artist gifted? ›

In academic literature and research, there are a number of definitions and models identifying artistic giftedness. One of the most influential has been Joseph Renzulli's "revolving door" model (1986). Renzulli maintains giftedness has three ingredients—task commitment, creativity, and above-average ability.

How do new artists grow? ›

Focusing hard on your content, sharing your music with others, collaborating and playing in-person shows are all things any artist can be doing to grow an organic audience. It's important to share your work with others, otherwise, no one will be able to appreciate your work.

How do musicians grow online? ›

Here are ten effective tips that will grow your fan base:
  1. Build a Brand. ...
  2. Get Discovered on Music Discovery Websites. ...
  3. Get Your Music Featured on Spotify Playlists. ...
  4. Get Featured on Music Blogs. ...
  5. Run Competitions or Giveaways. ...
  6. Play Live Shows. ...
  7. Create Video Content. ...
  8. Distribute Your Music and Merchandise.
6 Mar 2019

How do musicians generate ideas? ›

Musicians turn off the self-censoring area of the brain so they can generate novel ideas without restrictions. Interestingly, the improvising brain activates many of the same brain centers as language does, reinforcing the idea that the back and forth of improvisation between musicians is akin to its own language.

How much does Spotify pay for 5k streams? ›

As for how much Spotify pays per stream, they pay roughly $0.04 per 10 streams. So, 1000 streams would be around $4, and 100,000 streams would be $400.


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