Put Your Band’s Music On YouTube

If you are a music creator you probably use a number of streaming audio sites to make your recordings available to listeners: Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify, etc. But are you using YouTube?

If your answer is “Well, we some amateur videos of live shows” or “No – we can’t afford to shoot a real music video!” then you are missing a great opportunity to get your quality recorded music into people’s ears! One report found that the majority of teenagers look for music primarily on Youtube, and many people I know go their first when looking for a song they don’t have on their mobile device or computer.

So how do you take advantage of this opportunity for little or no cost?


One easy way is to create a “video” using still photos and your studio-recorded music as the soundtrack. This allows you to upload a “music video” to YouTube, Vimeo, etc. so people can find (more about tags below) and hear a better representation of your band than that dark shaky video with distorted sound your friend shot of you playing in a dive bar.

Here’s a video of this sort that I created for my band Ginger Ibex:

How to make a slideshow video using iMovie:

Collect photos

  • how many will depend on the length of your song and how frequently you want the slide to change. If you assume 10 seconds per slide and your song is 3 minutes long, that requires at least 18-20 photos. But 10 seconds is actually a long time to look at one photo, even if you use the “Ken Burns” moving-across-a-still-to- imitate-action feature, so try for more.
  • You can also flip or change filters on fewer photos to make them look different.
  • For use in a video, landscape (wider than tall) photos are better than portrait (taller than wide)
  • Put all of your photos in one folder so you can easily find them in the next part.
  • If you want the photos to be displayed in a particular order in your video, make it easier by naming the photo files “01…”, “02…”, etc. so you can add them in order.

Import photos into a new iMovie project

  • When you create the new Project, select “Automatically add Cross Dissolve” or whatever type of transition you want to happen between photos.
  • Arrange the iMovie window so that you can also see the window containing the folder  of photos you want to use.
  • Right-click on the empty project pane (upper left) i the iMovie window and select Project Properties.
    • Set the Photo Duration as desired (e.g., 10 seconds) and choose Applies when added to project – this makes the default duration the time you choose, but you can later adjust it if desired without changing ALL of the photos’ duration.
    • Set Transition Duration if you want the time between photos to be longer than 0.5 seconds.
    • Set Initial Photo Placement as Ken Burns and Initial Video Placement as Fit in Frame.
  • Click-drag the photos one at a time in order into the project pane (upper left) i the iMovie window.
  • Use the Titles tool to add a title box to the beginning and end of your slide stream. Add your band name, website url, and song title at the beginning – this is very important because other sites may share your video without identifying from where it came. Add any other information (e.g., who took the photos) and your band website again at the end.

Import your song

  • Now you should have a silent “video” that is at least as long as the duration of your audio track. If the video is longer that’s good – you can always adjust some of the slide durations. But if it is NOT as long as your audio track, do whatever you need to make it so (e.g., add more photos) because otherwise your audio track will be cut short.
  • Open a desktop window to display the .mp3/.wav/.aif file of your song.
  • Drag the audio track into iMovie and over your project pane.
    • If you drop the audio track just anywhere in blank space on the pane it will default starting at the very beginning of the video.
    • If you want to to start somewhere else, e.g. after the title card, drag it over the beginning of the slide where you want it to start.
  • Check that the end of the video (at least part of the end title card) extends past the end of the audio, so the song isn’t cut short.
  • If you have a lot of photos displaying after the end of the song, go back and adjust the Clip Duration of some individual tracks (or all of them, by choosing the “apply to app stills” option)

When finished with the above, play through the entire project. If you are satisfied, export the movie and upload to your YouTube channel.

YouTube Configuration

  • Give your video a good title that includes your band name, e.g. “The WhyNots – My Love [official video]”
  • In the description list your band website first so that it appears in shares to Facebook, etc. which only display the first couple of line in their share link.
  • Enter keyword tags that will help your best audience (including people who do not yet know about you) to find your video. These should include:
    • Your geographic location: “Boston”, “Spain”, or whatever.
    • Your type of music: “Folk”, “Acoustic”, “Metal”, etc.
    • The instruments played: “violin”, “piano”, “strings”, “melodica”, “horns”, etc.
    • The names of your performers: “Betty Widerski”, etc.
    • Other popular bands you sound like: “Slayer”, “Dylan”, “Fleet Foxes”, etc.
    • Anything else that people might search for: “relaxing”, “meditation”, “rowdy”, “head banging”, etc.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *