Post all your music in full on YouTube

Yesterday’s post where I asked the question if your a musician should you fight piracy was very interesting. Most people agreed with my first inclination that you want the most fans no matter what the means. Therefore today I ask: Should musicians post all their music; full length songs on YouTube? Here’s my reasoning. Over time fans are going to post your full songs on YouTube. If you have a music video they will repost that. If you don’t have an official video they will just put the song up with some text or often they will get creative and have a slideshow of photos of you or something similar. Why not beat them to the punch this way you control the video? If you control it you can at least add links to buy your tunes somewhere legal. You can have your own annotated links, images, etc… If the song is a hit you could even make some money with Google AdSense. I’ve attached two examples to this post. The first one for my song One Night in NYC. It has over 800,000 views but I wasn’t the one who uploaded the the video. I certainly wish I did so. Maybe I can claim it somehow without it loosing it’s view count? The second example is for a song I recorded “Soul of Emptiness”. Someone just played the record and displayed the lyrics. I think most fans know the YouTube audio quality is cassette-ish so if they love the song they still seek out a better version to own. What do you think? Upload each song in full to YouTube starting on day one?

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to:

12 thoughts on “Post all your music in full on YouTube”

  1. I think that’s a great idea, lots of casual listeners are happy to just listen to music on Youtube and as you say, it’ll get uploaded anyway (and record labels/artists getting it taken down seems petty and counter-productive as it’s a great way to preview a song), so why not take ownership of the video?!

  2. Sweet viral marketing tip Oliver. Injecting adsense never occurred to me either, so that is just golden. I’ve been playing with the idea of a DVD release anyway.

  3. The reason your music might sound “cassetteish” is cause of the quality you’re uploading at.
    Try uploading HD quality…when played back on Apple TV for instance, the quality is just as good as broadcast.

  4. i always post everything myself in full length whenever i have a new release. that way you get a lot of people to subscribe to your youtube channel. plus the things you mentioned, like having the option to do ad sense stuff and shop links next to the video.

  5. Oliver – seems like a tough call – because some people will rip the music from your Youtube video.

    The exposure is probably more important, though, and it might as well be on an account that you control.

    1. Here’s the thing tho. The people that ripped the video from YouTube, or downloaded it from a torrent site … those people probably weren’t going to buy your music anyway. Sad but true. If you don’t upload them, someone else will and those people will simply rip those instead, or they’ll get a burned CD from their friend. It’s not like it was much different in the cassette days (recording from the radio/copying etc) … those people still weren’t buying your album. It’s just a lot easier these days due to digital formats.

      Trent Reznor has been known to seed his albums in full to torrent sites on or before release. Generally the concept is that people that like the music and want to support you and your band will. People that don’t aren’t going to anyway, but they might show up to a concert. Trent wants the best sounding recordings up around the net for exposure reasons (if you’re going to steal his music anyway, might as well be good sounding copies).

      With Ghosts he uploaded it to various torrent sites for free. The Slip he released for free or option to pay, and only sold ~250K-ish units which would be considered a failure by a major label. Both Radiohead and NIN have stopped doing that and only have paid options now for their subsequent albums. Which is interesting to note since both of those bands are essentially household names.

      Bowie has spoken on the topic as well and has taken the stance that artists should be focused on making amazing live shows and worry less about pirating of their recorded material. Although that’s easier to say when you have 10s of thousands of people showing up to your concerts and live on your own island with your super model wife. ;)

  6. I assumed that YouTube adsense and preload commercials were the only ways to make money in the music biz anymore. :P

  7. Hmmm … whatever you do, make your content easy to get!

    I’ve spent hours on YouTube nostalgically searching for old songs via their video clips. If they live up to my memories I buy them immediately from other online marketplaces … just the song not the video. If they’re not available then I might consider exploring other options to get the best copy I can. But if it’s there to buy…. my (usually wine primed) credit card is ready and willing!

    So yeah…. show us what you got on YouTube or Vimeo or wherever … and then make it easy for me to give you money. You earned it!

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