by Chang Chia-Chen
Digital has long proven to be a more popular sales channel than vinyls or CDs. According to Nielsen 2014 Mid-Year Music Industry Report in America, album sales and track downloads are shrinking, while on-demand streaming is growing by 42%. In response to changing markets, music companies start to promote sales on online platforms, such as iTunes, KKBox and Spotify.
In online music business, YouTube is an important platform with less profitability. Its figures, especially initial views, shares and comments, are also important references to popularity and sales numbers. Posting music videos on YouTube, however, doesn't guarantee viewership. The following tips are crucial as well.
1. Effective Official Accounts
First of all, you need official accounts to upload music videos and attract all possible views in one place. Never assume viewership is irrelevant. Accumulated, it's an indicator to popularity. After Hebe Tien released her new album Insignificance last years, all unofficial music video uploads were taken down in a few days. It encouraged fans to use online streaming or legal downloads.
If you search for “A Mei” and “March” on YouTube, for example, two of the top three uploads are unofficial. Views may scatter around in result.
2. Promote Your Own Channels
Alex Goot & Against The Current rise to fame on YouTube by covering popular songs. With limited promotion budgets, links to official channel and iTunes are embedded on music videos to increase touch points and consumption.
Jolin Tsai produces several eye-catching music videos in her album MUSE, and they are all linked to each other on YouTube. Visuals as well as texts create stronger incentives to click.
3. Omni Sales Channels
Shakira, with over one million fans on Facebook, owns official channel shakiraVEVO on YouTube. Due to standardized practices, VEVO doesn't redirect viewers to e-commerce websites in music videos. The “About” section in each video, though, offers links to iTunes and other offline channels, including Shakira official website. While others focus on Facebook, it's rare to see singers committed to official websites.
HIM International Music in Taiwan also puts much efforts on YouTube, including multilingual subtitles, song descriptions, links to iTunes and other e-commerce pages, official channels, Facebook pages, lyrics and production team briefings.
Swedish singer Lykke Li lists 13 links in each video, even including Google+, but no other words.
A Missed Opportunity
Taiwanese singer Jeannie Hsieh created an online buzz last year with over 15 million views on her music video Sister. The music video is uploaded, though, by the production house. Her music company responds that other videos in the future will be uploaded to her new official channel. It's unfortunate to miss this opportunity to connect with so many viewers.
YouTube operation is more than uploading music videos online. Use a few tips to increase accessibility, as well as online/offline sales in return. Although digital formats are common now, it's still rewarding to buy and open albums in your hands. After all, it's very different from clicking buttons.