In recent years, the popularity of vertical video and short-form content has exploded and is now here to stay. In 2020, YouTube launched ‘Shorts’ which they describe as the “spot to shoot, share and binge short videos (think 60 seconds or less) on YouTube. It’s where you can go to start trends, try out a dance challenge, bring your hilarious ideas to life, and more. No fancy equipment needed, and no limit on what you can create.”
There are several platforms in this space, though YouTube Shorts offers some unique opportunities to artists and musicians. Many artists have spent over a decade building and developing their online presence, so when a new platform emerges and they are asked to start yet another profile and build a fanbase from scratch, it can understandably be a daunting task for the artist.
YouTube Shorts are different. They are uploaded to a creator’s existing YouTube channel and live alongside all their other content, from their official music videos and live performances to their tour vlogs and art track videos. There’s no need to start again, just new opportunities to accelerate the growth of a channel. Significantly, Shorts do add to the overall ‘Watch Time’ of a channel, which you may already know is one of the key metrics YouTube uses to recommend videos. (more information on watch time)
Shorts are not discovered via search results or suggested videos to the same extent a music video would be. Instead, users click on the separate tab in the app for ‘Shorts’ and swipe through short videos, with YouTube selecting the best videos for a user based on what else they’ve watched and engaged with. The algorithms are very impressive and tend to keep users glued to the platform (over 15 billion views a day). As users can consume so much more content in this format, the opportunity for discovery also increases. Via a Shorts video, an artist may be able to reach a huge audience of users who weren’t previously aware of their work and gain new subscribers who can now see all the other content on their Official Artist Channel (more information about OACs).
It can be hard to know where to start with vertical video. Shorts don’t need to be fancy. They don’t need to be high budget. They should be quick, fun and interesting. If an artist is unsure of what to create, they should spend some time across these platforms and get an idea of what other creators are posting. They should try to develop an understanding of what is working and what isn’t and think carefully about what suits their brand and personality.
Don’t force yourself to follow the trends – be yourself and be authentic!
For instructions on how to create and upload a YouTube Shorts, click here