Why you and I should be using YouTube more

Subtitled: What my daughter is teaching me about finding and winning fans.

Musicians, songwriters, performers… this is for you.

My daughter loves her music. So much so that she did the research, prompted and pushed, and had me sign her up to attend a performing arts high school in downtown Los Angeles.

We recently moved into the downtown area because she was commuting an hour and 45 minutes ONE WAY to her school. Here are a couple photos of the view from the hill behind out house. It is pretty epic. The dogs are cool too!

Dogs and Los AngelesLos Angeles by day

This works for me too as it brings me closer to both my consulting and opportunities for music.

A Tale of Two Artists

This is sort of an expose of my daughter finding two new artists, how she found them, and how she connects with them. I think it offers some insight into the mind and the method that some people, particularly youth, find and engage with new music.

Artist #1: Echosmith

Echosmith is an alt-rock/indie rock act out of Los Angeles. Young kids – very talented. A few months ago, my friend and music writer, Val King (Rock Revolt Magazine) asked if my daughter and I would like to interview this new act – Echosmith – for her magazine. She is in Georgia and seeks out writers and photographers in various cities.

It is sort of short-notice and we couldn’t make the show that day. But my daughter started listening to them and following them on Tumblr and YouTube. She kept telling me how much she liked them.

Platforms of choice

My daughter spends a LOT of time on Tumblr and YouTube. She’s 15 and I’ve found this to be pretty common. In fact, Facebook, as she describes it, is for 40 year olds. That’s sort of funny considering how it started. I don’t agree with the demographic but I do agree that 15 year olds aren’t connecting on Facebook… why? Their parents are there. We aren’t that cool – even though I know I’m cool.

Tumblr it touted as a blogging platform but it is graphically intensive and easy to post. It is more of a content network than a blog per se. And it’s phone integration works very well.

“YouTubers”

YouTubers are those people who are using YouTube as a primary mechanism for connecting with and engaging their fans. It is easy to post video, has great search tools, can be monetized to earn money, etc.

So, in addition to Tumblr, her primary content network of choice (the place she goes to listen/view content) is YouTube. And she religiously follows quite a few YouTubers. This is where artists and social networks collide.

Echosmith has a new CD. It’s good. Even I like it and I’m old!

We had the opportunity to go see Echosmith for the price of a CD. Good job by the way.. no tickets sold to the event. It was a “buy a CD and get into the show – and we’ll sign the CD as well,” show. That’s smart on Echosmith’s part. You want people to have your music!

But here is the interesting part. While at the show, in a small listening room of a venue called, Amplyfi, my daughter brought up a picture on her phone.

simplyspoons - Jon D

She said, “Dad, is that this guy?” – and she pointed me at a young man who was attending the Echosmith show, talking with his friends. It sure looked like the guy in the photo.

I said, “It could be, who is he?”

“He’s a YouTuber. Rachel’s favorite. I showed you some of his videos.”

So I took her phone, shows the young man the photo, and said, “Is this you?”

He laughed and said that it was. Then he came over and talked to Sara, took a picture with her, and then allowed me to shoot a little video hello to my daughter’s friend Rachel.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sps3Tp7FRf4]

Jon D aka: Simply Spoons

Jon is a YouTuber. Well-known and obviously engaging enough to garner some notice. In fact, to my daughter and her friends, he is as much a celebrity as any other artist.

And here is the important lesson. Sara makes no distinction between an unsigned YouTuber or a newly signed major label act or a larger mainstream established act. If they are connecting on HER NETWORKS – they are celebrities to her.

This is an important lesson. I’ve always advocated that your content be strong and you make it the central element of your social media strategy.

However, I’ will also emphasize that you find where your demographic connects. A rough breakdown might look like this – though it really isn’t so clear:

  • YouTube: Everyone. All age groups are on there. Some don’t “subscribe” there but most younger people do. This is where I’m failing in my current social media/content strategy.
  • Tumblr: 14-20 year olds. Irreverent and graphically intensive with video.
  • Instagram: 20-40. Graphically mostly images
  • Pinterest: 20’s. Hipsters?
  • Facebook: 25-55
  • Email: Everyone. There is some confusion and mis-representation of this. But even Echosmith asked everyone to sign up on their email list. Why? Well.. lessons from Myspace. If your social network dies, you want a more direct means to re-engage your fans on the “next” social network.

I thought about this a LOT after that show. I spoke at the Independent Music Conference a few weeks after this. One of my topics was Online Presence and Social Media. I covered the basics but I also discussed this specific incident.

At a show for a more traditionally signed act, my daughter also met another celebrity.. one whose total fanbase was built organically on YouTube. I think this is an important lesson for artist and entrepreneurs alike.

What are your thoughts?

Posted in Blog, Music Business, Social Media.

6 Comments

  1. It was a thought-provoking article. Thanks. Even the rough breakdown is very useful. I’m a writer and could use this info to think about reaching out to readers. (Just quick question: Why is the word “artist” now used for singular or plural? Is that a new thing? I’ve never heard of “two artist” instead of “two artists.”) Best wishes.

    • Sydney: I’m glad you enjoyed the information.

      Two artists is correct. My blog used to always have the disclaimer, “Spelling, Usage, and Grammar are all subject. You, the reader, are my editor.”

      So that stands corrected. 😉

  2. Well, I’m too old for Facebook. And all the rest. But I appreciate the article. As a writer, finding readers is an important goal. So finding a social media presence with the people I want as an audience means sifting through a lot of options. Thanks.

    • Michael, thanks for dropping by.

      I don’t if you are too old for Facebook. According to my daughter, that’s exactly where you and I should be.. 😉

      Truthfully, I know a woman who is in her ’80’s using social media quite adeptly. I suspect there might be a place you can interact with your audience online.

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