On January 23rd of 2018, YouTube introduced its brand-new YouTube Official Artist Channel. These channels are designed specifically for musical artists.
These channels set out to merge multiple accounts into one main “Official Artist Channel”. In the past, artists had separate Vevo accounts, an artist account, and often their videos would get posted on their label’s channel as well.
Also, artists tend to post things that aren’t always true “video content” – like individual, audio only albums with just the album art in the back. People listen to music like this a lot, but it doesn’t necessarily make sense for that to be clogging up your feed and distracting from official music videos.
So, YouTube launched the Official Artist Channel feature to streamline the YouTube experience for both creators and consumers.
Not everyone can get an Official Artist Channel yet, but they are steadily being beta tested and rolled out to more and more channels. You may notice that most major artists have them (check out Ed Sheeran’s YouTube channel for a good look).
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How To Get An Official Artist Channel
When the channels become fully available to all artists, you’ll need to make sure you have the following things in place to apply and receive an Official Artist Channel:
Operate Your Own YouTube Channel (Or Have Your Management/Label Operate It)
Ensure that you have control over the YouTube channel and that it is connected to the proper email address.
Alternatively, your team can manage the channel. Management and labels often own and operate artist YouTube channels, and this works as well.
If you want to ensure that you have control over your account, log in, and try accessing YouTube Analytics. If you can do this and have the ability to comment directly to fans on your videos, then you meet the criteria.
Release An Album & Have At Least One Video On Your Channel
To be recognized as an Official Artist Channel you need to have been creating and putting out content as an artist.
YouTube requires that you have put out an album under your current artist name and that you have uploaded at least one video to your artist channel.
More Subscribers & Viewers Helps
Currently, YouTube is rolling out these channels to major artists only. In fact, nobody with under 100,000 subscribers currently has one. If you don't have that many yet, you may want to get your views and fanbase up.
On YouTube’s help page, it says that if you have a video that is trending, or have an auto-generated YouTube “topic” channel about your page, then you can likely get an Official Artist Channel.
Unfortunately, this is not easy to do. YouTube also notes that it will be rolling out these channels to more and more artist owned channels throughout 2018, so you can always check back in later.
Use Your Artist Name As Your Channel Name
Use proper spacing and grammar (or if your artist name has inventive use of capitalization, just make sure it’s consistent across platforms). It’s best to avoid unnecessary words like “Official” or “Real”.
While you are in fact the “real” artist, having “official” or “real” in your name somehow makes the account look trashier or less put together. Just stick with your artist name.
Keep An Eye On The YouTube Artist Channel
The YouTube artist channel is where you can find all the information that YouTube has on running a channel as artist: https://artists.youtube.com.
If you’re interested in applying for an Artist channel, keep your eye on that page for updates. If you have a label or an artist manager working for you, express your interest to them. They may be able to help you.
Why Official Artist Channels Are A Good Step
YouTube has a lot of music on it. To this day, more people listen to music on YouTube than on Spotify or Apple Music.
It makes sense that YouTube would create dedicated channels just for musical artists – in fact, it seems strange that they haven’t done this already.
These artist channels are a step in the right direction for multiple reasons:
Streamlined Look & All Your Content In One Place
Rather than have your content spread around several channels, artist channels will keep everything – from audio, to lyric videos, to music videos, to vlogs – under one roof. This make more sense for both the fans and the artists.
Having one dedicated channel makes it easier for your fans to find and connect with you. When fans search for you, they’ll be linked directly to your official channel from the Watch button.
Also, whenever your videos are linked to in the sidebar, they should also be pointing to one cohesive channel.
Better Design Control
Artist channels have two auto-generated music “shelves” containing Music Videos and then Albums. The Albums shelf will populate videos that were created and posted on other accounts – for example, live sessions, Vevo, label channels, etc.
Not only does that make way more sense (giving your fans access to all of your content in one place) but you also get to decide exactly which videos populate both those shelves.
So, if there are some live videos posted by fans that you don’t want showing up in albums, you don’t need to have them on your channel. If you want to direct people to your Vevo channel, you can have Vevo featured front and center.
Same thing with the music video shelf – you can showcase exactly what you want fans to see.
Biography & Photo Gallery
YouTube is also adding a biography and photo gallery. Spotify has done this, and it works. It connects fans with your story and your brand. It makes sense that YouTube would integrate this.
YouTube does not want viewers leaving their site to look up further information on an artist – that just means less ad revenue for them. The more connected fans can be with artists on YouTube, the better that is for everyone!
Keep Your Eye Out For Updates & Apply!
While not everyone has access to these channels currently, they are clearly hugely beneficial. Keep your eye on YouTube’s artist page, and if possible, talk to your team about upgrading the channel.
When the time comes, apply for an Official Artist Channel, you won’t regret it!