Digital Tips #2 with Patrick Ross

///It’s time for round two of digital Tips with Patrick Ross. If you’ve any youtube related questions then fire us an email at info@karouselmusic.com with ‘Digital Tips’ in the header and we’ll be happy to pass it on to Patrick. He’s a geezer.///

///Digital Tips #2///

To start, let me point out that I am YouTube Certified in both Digital Rights & Audience Growth. “What the heck is that?” I would guess you’re wondering. It’s YouTube training. Training on how to build an audience, maintain your channel, earn revenue from your videos, and a general immersion in Google/YouTube jargon & philosophy. (And watched far less YouTube videos than you’d imagine.) The long and short of it is they had some great info, great snacks, and I can now stick this little gem on the bottom of my emails if I feel the need:

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 17.17.42

One point that is emphasised, even though they might not bear it on their current logo, is that they still hold to the motto, “Broadcast Yourself”. If we think of YouTube’s history we have to remember its humble beginnings of lo-res user uploaded videos. Suddenly anyone could broadcast videos of themselves out to the world at the click of a button. As the platform evolved along with the Internet, videos became longer and more high quality. (By high quality I mean resolution & not necessarily content of course.) As web speeds increased, at home as well as on the go, so did video.

Aphex Twin – he’s right, it’s creepy! -Ed.

For music the obvious use was a place to host music videos. Goodbye MTV and hello YouTube. Now we have an easy to access global library of almost every music video you can think of. Want to watch that creepy Aphex Twin video or show your friends coolest performance you’ve ever seen on Letterman, voila. And hey, it’s even monetized. But much of that kind of content isn’t broadcasting yourself at all, rather it’s just putting what was on TV & DVD on the web.

Future Islands killer performance on Letterman – it’s doing the rounds, and so it should…

So what does “broadcasting yourself” look like? To some it looks like the YouTube music stars such as Gabrielle Aplin, BriBry, Tom Milsom, Alex Day, Orla Gartland, Lauren Aquilina & oh so many more. These young musicians took to the web, faced their audience, and sang into the camera. But it’s not just songs, it’s personalities, jokes, and a whole package that is being broadcast out to their fans. This model works great for them, and their audiences who connect with this new channel for music consumption, this modern & interactive “Music Television” . They’ve create an engaged audience that comes back again and again to tune in and see what’s happening each week.

Using YouTube in this way goes right along with that “Broadcast Yourself” model, and I do think it’s great that the company holds that as a value, allowing anyone the chance to build an audience and get themselves out there. It’s what makes YouTube different than TV. Not everything has had planning and production budgets behind it, as you can certainly see with most cat videos.

Planning? Production? Budget? No… but pussies… what a riot!

But what does that mean for music as a whole? In the past access to artists was very limited. You interacted with them buy buying a vinyl record, and the artwork and music were about as far as it went, outside of live performances & other media coverage. For some artists and fans, that’s still what they prefer. Not every artist fits this broadcast yourself mould, and perhaps we wouldn’t want them broadcasting themselves in this kind of way. There’s still something to be said for a bit of mystique in some cases.

The platform has both types of artists, in fact more accurately a spectrum ranging from daily uploaders of bedroom covers to one professional grade music video every blue moon. The latter tends to use YouTube as promotional tool, in the way traditional music videos have always been used. You get the song out there with a good visual and hope to sell more albums or get more people to gigs as a result. For the former however, YouTube itself can be the end game. With monetized videos and a large number of subscribers they may not even need to release albums. (Though many of them do make that jump into the more traditional industry.)

What I will leave you with today is deciding what kind of artist you are. What are you comfortable with? How do you want to engage with your fanbase? Answering these questions, and then plotting a strategy from there will be of great advantage in getting the most out of video on the web, whatever camp you fall into. Next time I’ll address just this.


///Patrick Ross/// is the head of Digital Marketing UK at Kobalt Label Services. Originally from Atlanta, GA, Patrick graduated with honours from Belmont University in Nashville, TN with a BBA in music business. While still in school he started a web design company, Delta-9 Web Design. He has worked with a variety of independent record labels (Nettwerk, Albert Productions, & Theory 8). In 2007 he founded Delta Nine Online, a company specializing in web presence management for artists and labels. Specialising in social media management, digital marketing, and online campaign implementation, Patrick has been a leading light at AWAL’s digital marketing team before moving over full time to Kobalt Label Services UK.