Should Your Album Be on YouTube?


To be frank, the question “Should I put my music on YouTube?” doesn’t come with an easy yes or no. While there’s a strong case to be made for uploading your album to youtube – which we’ll dig into below–the answer depends heavily on factors that are going to differ from artist to artist.

For some musicians, uploading an album on YouTube is a senseless giveaway. For others, it’s a one-way ticket to fame and success. And for bands, there’s another layer of complexity, because putting a new album on YouTube is often taken as a group decision–after consultations with representation, record label personnel, or musical artist promotion agents.

Because of these variables, musicians are going to arrive at different conclusions about the risks versus benefits involved. However, even though what’s right for one band might be wrong for another (and vice versa), there are two core questions that all artists should consider carefully.


In This Article:
Reasons to Upload Your Full Album on YouTube

  1. Expanded Reach
  2. Discovery and Recommendation Algorithms
  3. Visual Component
  4. Monetization Opportunities
  5. Promotion and Fan Engagement

Reasons to Think Twice About Uploading Your Full Album on YouTube

  1. Revenue Share
  2. Copyright and Content ID
  3. Consumption Patterns
  4. Competition and Noise
  5. Limited Control

Reasons to Upload Your Full Album on YouTube


  1. Expanded Reach

Uploading your full album to YouTube offers an unparalleled opportunity to extend your reach. With billions of logged-in monthly users, YouTube provides access to a vast and diverse global audience. Independent musicians can harness the platform’s immense popularity to connect with potential fans who may not encounter their music through other channels. The sheer size of the YouTube user base means that, with effective music promotion and engagement, your album has the potential to resonate with a much larger audience than many other platforms can offer.

Want your music to reach new people online? Let Planetary handle digital music promotion for you.


  1. Discovery and Recommendation Algorithms

YouTube’s powerful recommendation algorithms can significantly boost your music’s discoverability–but the key word there is can. When viewers engage with your album, YouTube’s algorithms may recommend it to others with similar music preferences. This creates a snowball effect where your music could gain visibility and reach a wider audience organically.

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  1. Visual Component

Uploading a full album on YouTube allows you to enhance the auditory experience with a compelling visual component. Whether through lyric videos, captivating album artwork, or professionally produced music videos, visuals can engage your audience and keep them invested in the album from start to finish. A well-crafted visual accompaniment can not only improve the overall listening experience but also leave a lasting impression, strengthening the emotional connection between your music and the viewer.


  1. Monetization Opportunities

While YouTube’s revenue-sharing model likely will not provide a primary source of income, it still offers a supplementary revenue stream for musicians. By participating in the YouTube Partner Program and allowing ads to be displayed on your videos, you can earn a share of the revenue generated by your content. All those fractions of cents won’t be big enough to replace other income sources, the additional revenue can contribute to your overall earnings.

If you don’t have time to properly manage your social media, Planetary can handle that for you.


  1. Promotion and Fan Engagement

YouTube serves as an excellent platform for maintaining ongoing engagement with your audience. Beyond just hosting your music, you can interact with fans through comments, live chat during premieres, and community posts. This direct connection with your fan base provides a valuable space to share updates about upcoming shows, new releases, and merchandise offerings.

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Reasons to Think Twice About Uploading Your Full Album on YouTube


  1. Revenue Share

While YouTube offers the potential for monetization, the revenue earned per stream may be less lucrative than other platforms, such as Spotify or Apple Music. Independent musicians should consider whether the ad revenue from YouTube justifies the potential impact on their income, especially if they have a dedicated fan base on other streaming platforms. For the record, YouTube’s average payout is about $0.00164 per stream.


  1. Copyright and Content ID

Uploading a full album to YouTube can be fraught with copyright issues, especially if you don’t own all the rights to your music. YouTube’s Content ID system, designed to protect copyrighted material, may flag or take down videos that contain copyrighted samples or elements. This can lead to demonetization, restrictions, or even removal of your content, creating potential headaches for independent musicians.

You can always use other social media promotion and get your music heard!


  1. Consumption Patterns

YouTube’s audience tends to engage with shorter video content, and viewers may be more inclined to listen to individual songs or watch music videos rather than full albums. This could result in lower engagement with your album as a whole. Many people are more accustomed to listening to complete projects on platforms built for that, like Spotify and Apple Music.

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  1. Competition and Noise

The sheer volume of content on YouTube means that your album may struggle to stand out. Without the best music promotion and visibility strategies, it’s easy for your music to get lost amid the deluge of videos and channels. Independent musicians must recognize the fierce competition on the platform and be prepared to invest time and effort into promoting their album effectively. This is certainly worth thinking about, but artists will face the same problems on sites like Spotify as well.


  1. Limited Control

While YouTube offers exposure, it also limits your control over the user experience. Viewers can easily skip songs, jump to other videos, or leave your video entirely. This lack of control over how your album is consumed and perceived can be a concern for artists who prefer a more curated listening experience or want to present their music in a specific order or context. Of course, this is nothing new for musicians who upload their work to other streaming platforms.

YouTube is hugely important for reaching new fans, but never forget the power in traditional radio promotion!

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The Indie Bible has been a staple for musicians and performing artists for over 20 years. Learn more in our writeup below.

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