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Creating a YouTube Strategy Without Official Music Videos

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 3.26.14 PMYouTube has become the most accessible resource for rich media and drives our demand for variety in unprecedented ways. Over the years, music has cemented itself as a pillar of the YouTube ecosystem, and we expect that same level of variety to suit our listening habits. It was never enough to search for an artist and be served a random list of music videos completely out of context.

In a way, the MTV music video formula never translated to YouTube in the first place — even more so for creators on a tight budget. Musicians, labels and distributors alike are now challenged to premiere records in new, cost-effective and engaging ways. It might seem difficult to package and repackage the same song or album into multiple visual experiences, but it all comes down to this basic equation:

Teaser Announcement + Pseudo/Lyric Video + Full Album Stream = Successful Release

Let’s explore how to execute a thorough release strategy on YouTube without the need for an official music video.

Teaser/Trailer Announcement

This is essentially the first glimpse that the public will have of the new album and YOU control what they hear first. It can be anything from a 30-second clip with simple text to a one-minute preview complete with visualizations.

Since the point is to build excitement around this official announcement, it is imperative that timeliness be a top priority. This starts with outlining a long-lead schedule that takes into account all the other components of the equation. In order to fully capitalize on this tent-pole approach, there should be at least a week in between the trailer and the first single’s pseudo video, and a month before the full album stream.

Making sure that each video down the line goes up before any UGC also secures its ability to gain the most traction. This would effectively help place it at the top of search results and would make it the first video people share or embedultimately converting to higher views and earnings.

Pseudo and Lyric Videos

Now that your audience is looking forward to something, you can meet those expectations by making the first single available at the same time as other digital service providers. Pseudo and lyric videos can perform exceptionally well, especially if an official music video doesn’t exist. Even Justin Bieber uses them alongside his music videos and still generates millions of views.

Another bonus to creating your own pseudo or lyric video is the ability to feed it into a YouTube Topic Channel by listing it as the Sound Recording Asset’s official video. This is a great way to leverage YouTube’s reach to your own advantage, as the traffic will direct back to the video on your partnered channel.

It’s a simple alternative to spending thousands of dollars and the end result is arguably better — you’ve still created an engaging, shareable piece of content, only now the benefits far exceed the costs.

Full Album Stream

The full album stream aims to create a one-stop source for the entire album. This ensures that traffic will be directed to only one video, allowing it to gain traction faster than individual pseudo videos for each song. This momentum is vital for it to be among the top results when searching for the new album or any individual track on it.

A full album stream is also more easily consumed than a playlist as it creates a true, continuous listening experience with less interruption. For this same reason it is also much more shareable.

More importantly though, is the fact that longer videos with high retention have the greatest impact on a channel’s Watch Time, and as a result, CPM (cost per thousand impressions). You can also implement different ad-types like mid rolls, which further contribute to higher earnings. This can all make the full album stream incredibly lucrative compared to your other videos.

In short, the benefits to implementing each phase center around creating buzz, capitalizing on timeliness, and maximizing the amount of monetizable, shareable content where each installment leads to the next. So when you’re putting together your next YouTube strategy for a release, just remember not to ask what you need to make, but instead how it will be strategized.

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