Should You Use YouTube Music Promotional Channels?

Before putting your original music on the biggest YouTube music promotion channels consider how you and other rights holders will earn royalties. These channels have the same effects that playlists have on Spotify and Apple Music. But since most of these channels are monetized in the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), there are different considerations than the music DSPs.

Putting Original Music on YouTube Music Channels.

There are many kinds of music promotional channels like Promoting Sounds, Elevator, and Trap Nation. In this article we take a look at the biggest and best youtube music promotion channels. No matter what your genre is, you’ll find youtube channels that promote pop music, hip hop, rock, chill, and even moods like “workout”.

In case you didn’t know it, YouTube is the number one destination for streaming music. Apple & Spotify lead the market in terms of getting you paid, but YouTube by far has the most users and is the biggest source of streams. For major artists, YouTube is more of a destination and not a starting point. But for developing artists, YouTube can be a primary source of promotion.

Should You Use YouTube Music Promotional Channels?

The answer for most of you is Yes. These channels have a similar benefit as playlists on Spotify and Apple. But there are some concerns you’ll want to know about. Like what is it that prevents the major labels from allowing their music on these channels? And what scams are out there?

10 BEST YOUTUBE MUSIC PROMOTIONAL CHANNELS.

  • Trap Nation – all genres
  • Wave Paradise – all genres
  • Mr Suicide Sheep – Chill EDM, Indie, Alternative
  • Proximity – EDM, Pop, Alternative
  • 8D Tunes – Pop, EDM, Hip Hop, they also have Trillion which is Rap and Hip Hop.
  • Lofi Girl – Chill, Study, Sleep
  • IndieAir – (family: AlexRainbird, Koala Control) Indie, Acoustic, Chill, Electronic
  • Indie Folk Central 
  • Montage Rock, (others) SpaceUntravel, Blank TV, Dreambound (careful of exclusive) – Rock
  • Workout Music (don’t forget moods and activities as genres)

Know This Before You Submit to YouTube Music Channels.

  1. Who’s video is being used?
  2. Who is monetizing and not monetizing?
  3. Clearance forms are sync licenses in disguise.
  4. Don’t grant any other rights except for use on the YouTube channel. 
  5. Why do major labels stay away?

Who’s Video Is Being Used?

Most of these channels create their own video asset. They’ll own this video, but you still monetize the audio. Sometimes their video is simply a nice visualizer, photo, or a slide show of photos. Rarely do they ever create a high production music video.

But other channels are actually featuring high production official music videos. A lot of musicians make the mistake of signing away the rights to their music videos by giving the YouTube channel an exclusive. It’s not fair, because the artist paid to create the music video, and owns the music sync’d to the video.

Sometimes a Video Premiere on YouTube Turns Over Your Rights.

One scam to watch out for. Some of them will trick you into premiering your official music video on their channel, and in the submission process they lock up the exclusive rights to your official music video. Sometimes it’s unintentional, but usually not. These channels know that they earn money from YouTube.

But in the case of premieres on channels that intend to monetize the video in the YPP, this will prevent you from putting the video on your own channel. And you won’t be able to book Google Ads / Youtube ads on your video either.

Digital Submission Forms are a Red Flag.

Digital submission forms are what I would watch out for. I would avoid submitting through a digital form that has legal language in it. Ensure you negotiate all contracts on paper and hand sign them. Digital forms are a clear sign of a scam. Once you hit submit, you might have agreed to things in fine print that are simply bad for you.

Copyright Free Channel Scam on YouTube.

Another common scam I see in these forms is they’re trying to use your music copyright free and grant other people the rights to use your music free in their videos. Again, you want to handle your submissions by email so that you have a paper trail, and that if any clearance or licensing comes up, that it’s all done manually.

Note: The focus of this lesson is about getting your AUDIO featured on these channels, NOT your music video.

Who’s Monetizing Your Video on YouTube and Who’s Not?

The goal of these channels, especially the big ones, is to own the videos on their channel and make money, and they need your written permission to do that. But some of them could be just doing it as a hobby and not have any type of clearance form. In this case your distributor and publishing administrator can choose to sell ads on their video and get you paid through YouTube Content ID.

But let’s assume the majority of them want to monetize. They won’t be able to do that, unless they can prove to YouTube (in writing) that they have a “synchronization“ or “sync license” from you.

YouTube Channel Clearance Forms (Sync Forms in Disguise).

These youtube music channels will almost always send you a clearance document or form. They send it like it’s a quick easy permission slip so that they can put it on their channel. But really it’s allowing them to make money from your video. These can sometimes be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. So that’s the big reason I published this – to protect you.

The clearance form is really a sync license (publishing music audio in “sync” with motion picture). And it’s a gratis sync license, meaning they are not going to have to pay you or your publisher from their YouTube earnings (from the video that contains your music). Unless you were to negotiate a license with them and make provisions for a fee – but it’s highly unlikely any of these channels will want to do that.

YouTube requires channels in the YPP to have written permission from rights owners granting a channel the right to monetize their video asset on YouTube that contains your copyrighted audio. Without this sync license the channel will most likely will NOT put your music in a video on their channel, because they will not make money.

What to Watch Out For on the License or Clearance Form.

So if you want the benefit of this promotion you need to sign off on the gratis sync license. The most important thing you are looking for is that this is strictly a non-exclusive sync for this one time use on YouTube. Nowhere else, and no third parties.

But these gratis sync licenses will allow them to use your music and keep the money earned from video views. Now that’s not all bad. In fact, for the promotional exposure they give you, let’s say that that’s fine. They’re entitled to earn money in exchange for exposing you to a large audience of potential fans. 

And remember, you still own the audio, and they are not monetizing the audio on any other place than this video.As long as they don’t prevent you from making money from videos on your own channel, or prevent you from working with other channels, it can be fine. And make sure they’re not giving your music away as “copyright free” to other content creators. 

I’m not trying to scare you away from these channels. I want everybody to win. But I just know that some of them are taking advantage of your ignorance. 

Why Do Major Labels Avoid Using These Channels?

Major labels and artists don’t usually partner with these channels. The reason for this might not be what you think. In my opinion it’s not really a rights or licensing issue, because even when they do partner with one of these channels, the majors insist on using their own agreement that protects them.

The real reason the majors don’t utilize these channels is that they have full confidence that their artists will eventually become very popular from other methods. They’re avoiding a situation where their artist gets really big from another source (radio, social media, or elsewhere). Suppose a totally different song from this artist breaks and gets 100 million views. Naturally all their other videos will be sought out, and may quickly go from hundreds of thousands to millions. And when that happens, they don’t want to share the revenue with any third parties. 

Is There a Downside to Using YouTube Music Channels?

If you’re new and trying to gain a fanbase, there aren’t many downsides, unless you’re getting scammed out of your rights or unknowingly signing something exclusive.

But for more established artists there is a concern of splitting views or multiple channels competing for exposure. Sometimes these channel’s video will come up higher in search results for your band name than YOUR channel’s content. This takes away some of the discovery that your channel and official video should be getting. These music channels will feature your video for 1 week, but you are promoting yourself for a lifetime.

How to Approach YouTube Music Promotional Channels.

You should research the channels and put the contact details on a spreadsheet. Only consider the channels you know your music will perform well on. Nobody should be submitting to all 10 channels I mentioned. The genres are too broad. You should also add smaller channels to your spreadsheet.

Go to the about tab on their channel and you can unlock their email address towards the bottom of the page. (not in every case, but in most). Sometimes there will be digital forms in the description. Remember, I don’t trust those usually. If they have legal language, I would submit or inquire by email first.

Dealing With Contracts or Clearance Forms.

As for all legal and contractual matters, you should seek the help of a music or entertainment attorney. If you run into a situation where you don’t like something in the agreement, but you still want to work with the channel, you can take a non-confrontational approach by just crossing out the parts of the clearance form you don’t agree to and signing it. This is called “redlining”. By crossing these things out, you’re firmly but nicely telling them, “Hey, I want to work with you, but you can’t fool me.”

If they insist on an exclusive for your official music video and you really want to do it, try to limit the exclusive to 3 months. So that once it dies down, you can freely promote your own version on your channel.

Submitting Music to YouTube Music Channels.

When you reach out to the YouTube music channels, keep it simple. Just say you like their channel, you think your music is a good fit, and include a link to the song. Keep it short and sweet. They get lots of submissions, so they’re not spending too much time reading. They want to watch and listen, and make a quick decision. 

Keep it friendly, you’re looking for a win-win. And remember you’re trying to build a nice partnership and relationship that lasts. That way they are there for you each time you release a new track. 

Was Your Song Rejected?

If your song submission is rejected, don’t be discouraged. You can always book a Youtube TrueView ad and get your video playing in front of all videos on their channel, and hit their audience that way. Sometimes you might even reach more of the channel’s audience this way.

Discuss.

Putting your original music on the best YouTube music promotional channels can be great free promotion. Just watch out for predatory YouTube music channels and understand your music rights before submitting.

Do you have any questions? Want to share an experience? Let us know in the comments below.

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