YouTube Shorts: What Are They & How Do They Work?

Short-form video content is proving to be a powerful tool for artists and creators, so it’s no wonder that more and more platforms are jumping on the hype. With TikTok paved the way to Instagram Reels and now, YouTube is following suit with it’s new short-form video platform: YouTube Shorts.

As always we’re here with this guide on YouTube Shorts for independent artists, to help you understand the platform and how to leverage it to boost your music career.  You might also want to check out our posts on how to get your music on Instagram Reels and the power of TikTok to launch your music career. 

What are YouTube Shorts? 


YouTube Shorts is a brand new way to watch, discover and create short-form video content of no more than 60 seconds, right from your phone. Unlike its rivals, Youtube Shorts is not a standalone app. Still in beta mode, you can find it within the main YouTube app under the ‘Shorts’ tab.


How do I watch YouTube Shorts?

Just like TikTok and Instagram Reels, Shorts have their own viewing experience. Once you click on one, you can scroll through an entire feed of Shorts curated for you by YouTube’s algorithm. You can subscribe to your favourite creators and explore a number of hashtags and sounds. One of the most distinct things about YouTube Shorts, is its ability to re-use any content from YouTube’s huge video archive as a soundtrack.


How do I get my music on YouTube Shorts?

Making your music available on YouTube Shorts couldn’t be easier. YouTube Shorts operates within the YouTube app, which means all you need to do is release your music through Spinnup, we’ll distribute your tracks to YouTube Music and they will automatically become available for creators to use in their Shorts. No extra work required! Don’t worry though – you are in full control of your content and can opt out if you don’t want others using your videos.

Why should I use YouTube Shorts? 

Just like it’s rivals, TikTok and Insta Reels, Shorts is a massive opportunity for independent artists to promote their music and gain exposure. The popularity of a video is not based on streaming rates, but on how many people have used your track in their videos. But what’s so special about Shorts?


YouTube’s huge music library 


Almost every artist in the world distributes to YouTube, particularly their music videos. This gives Shorts a major advantage – users are able to add music to their videos from YouTube’s massive library.


An already established audience


YouTube Music is the world’s second most visited site with over two billion (yes billion!) viewers visiting every month, so you’re going to reach so many more people through Shorts. You’ll have access to a huge pre-established audience and creators with loyal and engaged fanbases who could help get your music out there.


Redirect fans to your Youtube channel

When users view a Short, they can then tap their way to the original video or music video that was originally used. Essentially, Shorts can be an extension of your brand and community on YouTube as you drive engagement back to your longer channel content. This can lead to users viewing the rest of your releases on YouTube Music, subscribing to your channel and more.


How to make Youtube Shorts


Creating a Short is easy with these ten steps from YouTube:


  • Sign into YouTube on your mobile app.
  • Tap “create” and then tap “Create a Short”
  • To make your Short is longer than 15 seconds, tap the ‘15’ above the record button to change this to ‘60’ seconds. (Note: recording with music from the YouTube Shorts library or the original audio from other videos is limited to 15 seconds).
  • (Optional) Tap “speed” to speed up or slow down recording.
  • (Optional) Tap “timer” to set the countdown to record hands-free and choose when to automatically stop recording.
  • To record a clip, hold the “capture” button or tap it to start recording and then again to stop.
  • Tap “undo” to remove the previous video clip you recorded, or “redo” to add it back.
  • Tap “done” to preview and add filters, music or text to your video, then tap “NEXT” to add details to it. (Note: when adding music you can adjust the part of the song you want to play and its volume.).
  • Add a title (max 100 characters) to your short video.
  • Tap “UPLOAD” to finish.

(Image taken from: www.blog.youtube.com)

How to promote your music with YouTube Shorts


You’ll want to use a similar content marketing strategy to platforms like TikTok and Insta Reels, creating videos such as lip syncs, dances, tutorials, covers and behind-the-scenes content.


If you’re feeling a bit stuck or uninspired on how to make short-form videos which promote your music, start by browsing through Shorts to get a feel for how other artists are using it; check out pivot pages for other channels, specific tracks or hashtags. Research here is key!


Collaborate with a Youtube creator or influencer


Collaborate with a YouTube creator or influencer and get your song used on their Shorts. In return you can promote their channel and they can get your song out there to all of their already established fanbase. This is a great way to get noticed on YouTube shorts.


Create a challenge for your fans


Create a musical moment from one of your tracks of 15 seconds that people can use to come up with their own skits, dances or lip-syncs. Set a challenge for your fans to create their own videos and then give out a prize such as merch, free downloads or gig tickets.


Tip: When creating a musical moment with one of your tracks, don’t disregard your old material, you never know which of your tracks will take off on the platform!

Jump on trends or hashtags


This is a given when trying to promote yourself on any short-form video platform. Jumping on trends and hashtags keeps your content relevant and relatable.


How to make money from YouTube shorts?


When someone uses your song in their Short, you will earn some money. However since YouTube Shorts is so new, the amount of revenue and timeline of that payment is currently unknown. It’s important to keep in mind that Shorts won’t generate as much revenue as full-length videos on YouTube because they don’t include advertising.


However, if you’re looking for some funding then check out the YouTube Shorts Fund – a $100M fund to pay out to creators which will be distributed over the course of 2021-2022 and anyone is eligible.


We can’t wait to see what amazing content you create on YouTube Shorts. Don’t forget to tag Spinnup.


Distribute your music to YouTube Music through Spinnup, get started today.

For more, check out our posts on How to Get an Official YouTube Artist Channel and ​​How to optimise your YouTube channel.