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How to Upload & Promote Your Music on YouTube Shorts

How to Upload & Promote Your Music on YouTube Shorts
August 31, 2022
YouTube Shorts (otherwise known as YouTube’s answer to TikTok) are here! And as with the addition of almost any new feature to a social or streaming platform, comes with it new opportunities to market your music with the possibility of going viral in the short-form video space!

Not to mention 2 billion users visit YouTube every single month (yep, that’s billion with a ‘b’). Despite the huge popularity of TikTok and Instagram Reels, YouTube is the OG video powerhouse, the site where it all began, and where viewers continue to flock to discover new creators, new music and new artists to follow. So how can independent artists utilise YouTube Shorts to go even further with their YouTube music promotion? Let’s find out!

What are YouTube Shorts?

YouTube Shorts are essentially how they sound: a shortened version of YouTube.

Similar to the video content on TikTok & Instagram, Shorts are short, shareable vertical videos that can be created via a smartphone using the YouTube app.

Shorts can be anything from 15 seconds up to 60 seconds long, which lends itself perfectly to viral style skits, sketches, dance trends, lip-sync challenges and more.

Plus unlike YouTube & Instagram Stories, the Shorts you create will live on your YouTube channel for as long as you want, meaning they’ll rack up views and engagement in the days to come!

You can view YouTube Shorts by clicking on the “Shorts” tab at the bottom of your mobile app.

How to use YouTube Shorts to promote your music - Accessing Shorts via the YouTube app

Alternatively, Shorts can also feature on an artist's or channel homepage in a specific “Shorts” section, like so:

How to use YouTube Shorts to promote your music - Accessing Shorts via the YouTube app

Why should musicians use YouTube Shorts to promote their music?

Just like Spotify’s music algorithm, YouTube Shorts are controlled by the app’s internal algorithm, and YouTube are as of now prioritising shorts over other formats of videos on the platform.

So if you can’t fight the algorithm, join forces with it!

Creating your own Shorts and being active in the Shorts space will increase the chances of your videos (and your music by default) falling into the laps of a whole other audience that you wouldn’t be otherwise able to target.

Don’t believe us? Here’s the stats to prove it.

A recent study found that as of 2022, Shorts has 1.5 billion monthly logged-in viewers - a number that rivals TikTok - and overall Shorts generate 30+ billion views per day (yep, once again, billion with a ‘b’).

So for musicians, Shorts is most definitely where it’s at - and where you need to be at too!

Music discovery from Shorts can come from a whole host of places too, such as via music hashtags, on the youtube homepage and through search.

How to add music to YouTube Shorts

Adding your own music to YouTube Shorts is one of the best parts about the app’s feature.

And once you start releasing to YouTube Music through Ditto, your song will appear alongside the millions of others in the Shorts music library.

Here’s 10 steps to creating a YouTube Short and adding with YOUR music:

1. Sign in to the YouTube app.

2. Tap “create” and then tap “create a short”.

3. Choose how long you want your short to be by tapping '15' above the record button. Remember you can record clips up to 60 seconds long.

4. Click “speed” to either slow down or speed up the video.

5. Tap “timer” to set the count-down, to record hands free and to choose when to automatically stop recording.

6. Add your song or sound by searching for it in the YouTube audio library. Click “add sound” to search and select a sound (NOTE: You can also add a sound or song after you’ve finished recording. To do this, tap the “sound” button at the bottom of the edit screen).

7. Start recording by tapping and holding the “capture” button.

8. If you’re happy with the clip, tap “done” to preview and then “next” to add details such as captions.

9. Add a title (max 100 characters).

10. Click “upload” to finish.

5 ways to promote music on YouTube Shorts

Now you know how to create, add your music to and upload a Short, let’s take a look at the best ways to approach your Shorts content in a way that supports more promotion and discovery of your music!

Similarly to promoting your music on TikTok, Instagram Reels or any other kinds of short form social media - the same principles apply with Shorts.

Here’s the key things to remember:

1. Keep things simple

How to use YouTube Shorts to promote your music - Keep things simple

Viral content is meant to be fun and simple - that’s what makes it so share-worthy and watchable!

So don’t go ham trying to think of a complex sketch with a plot line, 3 themes and a cliffhanger ending.

Raw, casual, off the cuff content that’s relatable and resonates is all the trend - and fans LOVE it. Simply turn your front camera on, hit record and see what you come up with!

Overcomplicating things, especially if it’s a dance or challenge, could overwhelm your viewers meaning they'll be less likely to participate or even worse - just click off.

2. Pinpoint the ‘musical moment’

How to use YouTube Shorts to promote your music - Music Moment

When you’re creating a short form video with your own track, it’s not usually enough to just add your own music and hope for the best.

You need to get more creative than that.

You need to find the ‘musical moment.’

Otherwise known as the optimal 15 seconds or so of your song that’ll inspire others to come up with their own tutorial, dance or trend - that puts those 15 seconds at the front of it.

This point is an important one - mostly because it’s true for almost any song that's gone viral on other short form platforms.


Because although you might rate your track a banger from start to finish, a lot of the time it’s not just the song, but the creative and unique treatment of a song, that makes it stick around on the explore page for weeks on end.

3. Think visual

How to use YouTube Shorts to promote your music - Think visual

Video is visual. Keep it that way.

Brainstorm some fun and creative ways that you can add more visual excitement and features to your Shorts - beyond simply recording yourself.

If comedy’s your side hustle, memes are always a crowd pleaser. What better way of getting fans to pay attention to your song than by overlaying it with a funny skit that’ll have them (and they’re friends) in stitches!

Not so much of a memer? That’s okay too! There’s already a tonne of meme-worthy, trending content and challenges that you can jump on without having to come up with your own.

Take a dive into the discovery page and see what people are already engaging with, and how you can use pre-existing content to compliment your music or artist brand in a fresh, innovative way.

4. Be consistent to be prolific

How to use YouTube Shorts to promote your music - Have a consistent upload schedule

Becoming a well known content creator might not happen overnight (or who knows, if one of your vids go viral it could just well do!).

But the road to becoming a loved and followed video creator requires consistency.

It simply makes sense that there’s a much higher chance of you getting noticed or your music getting picked up by viewers the more times you appear on their screen, than if you put out a 15 second video every once in a blue moon.

Plus the creative speed of this type of fleeting content is designed to be posted more often. So use it to your advantage by posting more, increasing your visibility and strengthening your digital presence.

5. Don’t ignore your fans' favourites  

How to use YouTube Shorts to promote your music - Don’t ignore your fans' favourites

Another important one to remember when you’re choosing which of your songs to get creative with - don’t neglect your back catalogue.

Or more specifically - any songs that have already done well with your fans, or that have the most viral or catchy potential.

Having a successful past hit almost guarantees your Short will be picked up well by listeners. Plus who knows what sort of gems you might be able to make with the content from your past!

Top Tip: Shorts can be added as an extension of your existing YouTube content. So if you’ve already put out music videos for any of your previous tracks, you can use your Shorts to re-market those videos to new audiences and listeners.

For musicians in 2024,  promoting your music via Shorts is an opportunity not to be missed.

Short form media and social media is changing the music industry - these platforms are capitalising artists into the charts, sending new music viral and offering a global stage for DIY musicians to be discovered.

Don't cut yourself short - it's time to get involved!

How to Upload & Promote Your Music on YouTube Shorts

Music Promo
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