YouTube can be a powerful tool for emerging musicians, offering a direct line to fans and always teasing the possibility of a surprise, viral hit. YouTube for Artists is a new initiative aimed at making it easier for artists to connect with their audiences, manage their videos and review data -- who's watching what, where do your fans live, what do they like? The initiative's homepage breaks down ways to advertise shows or merchandise in music videos, offers ideas for collaboration, and has tips for becoming a revenue-generating YouTube Partner.
The Partner program includes participation in YouTube's Music Key beta. This subscription service launched in beta form in November, and it provides ad-free playback, Spotify-like playlists, offline and background music options, and access to the full Google Play music library.
The more musicians and artists that use YouTube to promote their work, the better that is for YouTube's future plans. Music Key needs musicians to function as promised, and YouTube for Artists is similar to analytics services offered by Spotify, for example. YouTube already extends this type of support structure to video bloggers and personalities, and it looks like music is the next big bet.