I was fortunate enough to stumble upon the power of YouTube before I even knew its potential. About 6.5 years ago I started uploading videos as a daily thank you and reminder to my friends and family to vote for me in a contest I had entered. I did this for about 2 months, and somewhere along the way my world changed. The view counts grew and people I'd never met somehow found their way to my videos. Before I knew it, a small community of amazing individuals from around the world had formed on my website, deemed themselves "kinerds," and became a sort of online family to me. Thanks to the success of my daily videos and my newfound support network, I ended up winning the contest, getting my music video played on national TV and landing myself a record deal with a major label. The victory, however, happened long before my win, when I discovered the power of the internet through YouTube. Soon after winning, I decided to leave the label in order to maintain creative control over my music.
I've since spent the last 6 and some years calling it my home and using it as my main platform for releasing my original music, and as a result, I have been lucky enough to find fans here in the UK as well as around the world. I spent years trying to share my songs singing in coffee shops, busking on the street, playing in loud bars, etc, and it wasn't until I started sharing my music online, and on YouTube in particular, that I found my audience. The best part--I have no label to answer to, no one telling me what I can and cannot write, what is a "hit" and what isn't. When your success is built solely through people around the world who have chosen to support you for YOU, the art is in your hands.
My advice to those hoping to find success through the internet would be as follows:
1. Be you. Be genuine, and create what excites YOU, not what you think other people want to see/hear. People connect to realness, so just find what makes you happy and do that.
2. Post regularly and often. It takes work, but maintaining some sort of release schedule for your content is very important, as is releasing as much content as you can. But try to find a balance--don't choose quantity at the cost of quality.
3. Connect. Let people in. Show them who you are, let them know what's going on, involve them. They are the people that allow you to do what you love, and they are amazing, so make sure they know!
4. Branch out. While many of us would be content in only playing our own songs for the rest of time, it's fun and a good challenge to incorporate covers into your channel. It will stretch you as an artist and also allow new people to happen upon your music.
We are so lucky to live in the time we do. It's never been more possible for people to have a shot at their dreams, and that's thanks to the internet.
WATCH: Kina Grannis - Dear River