The mixtape has long been a part of music culture. Ever since the 8-track and the cassette, fans have spent countless hours compiling tracks into audible lists that vary from a simple top favorites to highly conceptual themes. For some, mixtapes are creative outlets that can hold deep meaning. For others, they are simply a means to carry their favorite music wherever they go. Regardless of complexity, mixtapes always serve as a way to discover new music. From an artist standpoint, this is great because it promotes your music. So, what if you could track how many times your songs make it to a mixtape?
Over the years, mixtapes have adapted to the newest media. After the cassette, it was the compact disc. Though we no longer use cassettes to transport music, the mixtape and its culture is still very much alive. The mood we once carried solely via physical media is now accessible everywhere. Walk into a coffee shop or a boutique clothing store for example. How much of the branded experience was fueled by the music you heard in the background? Chances are you can find the music you heard on their YouTube channel or Spotify, and now you’ve walked out with a new song to add to your personal playlist.
Thanks to the digitization of music, it is now increasingly possible to gain insight to how fans and brands are pairing your music, sharing it with others, and measure the overall impact of their behavior.
On YouTube, playlists act very much like mixtapes. In fact, the idea of creating lists to organize content is very much integrated into the YouTube viewing experience. We know that success on YouTube relies heavily on engagement, not just views. Using YouTube’s analytics, we’re able to monitor behavior such as commenting, favoriting, and likes to gauge levels of engagement from music fans and other creators. You can also use their metrics to analyze your playlists’ overall performance: For example, measure how well-crafted your playlists are by observing audience retention. Or go beyond the basics and experiment with different structures and themes to see what hooks your audience for longer sessions.
Playlist creation is also a form of engagement and YouTube knows this. That’s why they recently revealed the “Videos in Playlist” report, the latest addition to their robust analytics dashboard. Check it out here, under “Engagement Reports.” Before this feature, there was very little insight to playlisting behavior from fans on YouTube. Now we’re able to see playlist frequency, subscription status and geography of user videos in playlists.
YouTube is just as much about engaging as it is creating. Make sure you’re doing your part to get the most out of the experience. Do you cross promote? Your fans do. Encourage playlisting by featuring other creators’ playlist efforts on your channel. Playlist videos that inspired your work. Do you have a brand that you love? Feature their content on your channel and see if they return the favor.
Remember: The full launch of YouTube’s Music Key is just around the corner. User-generated playlists will soon play a bigger role in the user experience, where paid subscribers will be able to take their favorite playlists wherever they go. Get ready for a whole new level of user engagement!