How to make album art videos for your songs on YouTube

July 16, 2014{ 21 Comments }

Screen shot 2014 07 16 at 12.07.27 PM 1 How to make album art videos for your songs on YouTubeIndie musicians are earning more and more money from the usage of their music on YouTube. Every quarter, the amount of YouTube ad revenue that CD Baby pays to artists grows impressively.

The giant video streaming platform has already become the go-to destination for younger music fans, and older listeners are catching up quick. That’s why your YouTube presence may be the most important component of your overall music promotion.

But you can’t make money from YouTube if your music can’t be found on YouTube in the first place.

One remedy for that is to encourage your fans to upload their own videos to YouTube using your music. Through CD Baby’s YouTube Monetization program, YouTube will sonically ID your music, serve up ads on those videos, and pay you any revenue generated.

But another simple way to to get your music onto YouTube is to create album art videos for all your songs.

What is an album art video?

An album art video is simply a YouTube video consisting of the audio of one of your songs and an image of the associated album cover. If you really want to get fancy you can create a slideshow using band photos and show posters, but no need to get carried away; if you have an extensive back catalog of tunes, the key will be to create these videos, upload them to your YouTube channel, and start earning money as quickly as possible.

Here’s an example of an album art video for one of my songs (which some of you might recognize as the theme music to CD Baby’s DIY Musician Podcast):

So, how do you create an album art video? It’s super easy.

[To use Garageband, scroll to the bottom for some extra simple instructions.] 

1. Open up iMovie or some similar video editing program.

2. Create a new project.

3. Figure out how long your song is. Write down the play duration.

4. Drag or import your album cover image into the project. (In iMovie you can browse pictures in your iPhoto folder by clicking the camera icon).

5. If using iMovie, click the “clip adjustments” feature on the image within the project.

6. Change the duration to the playing time of your track. (In some programs you might have to calculate this in total seconds, not minutes and seconds; so a 2 minute track would get entered as 120 seconds).

7. Use the cropping or rotation features to make the image display as you want it to appear in the final video.

8. Drag or import your audio file into the project. (In iMovie you can browse audio files in iTunes by clicking the little 8th notes icon). Depending on the program, you might have to be extra careful to drag it to the beginning of the project.

9. Make any necessary audio adjustments to the song using your video program’s editing functions. (Hopefully your volume and EQ concerns will have been addressed in the mastering process.)

10. Preview the video. Watch the playback to make sure there’s no glitches.

11. Export the video and upload it to YouTube. (Some video programs allow you to upload directly to YouTube.) If you can export in an h.264 codec, all the better, since that plays nice with YouTube.

12. Add relevant notes and annotations to your YouTube video. Be sure to include the URL to your website or your CD Baby album page at the very top of your YouTube video description so it’ll show up without the user having to click the “show more” button.

Ok. That’s an awful lot of steps, but I promise it’s easier than it might appear from the directions. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to create album art videos in just minutes. Well, actually, it could take a while if your songs are 5 minutes or longer for the video to export — but the setup will just take a few minutes.

Also, you can make album art videos with Garageband, since they give you the option to create podcasts. Basically, you just drop your album art in and import your mp3; then export the thing as a quicktime .mov.

If you do create an album art video, we’d love to see (and hear) it. Leave a link in the comments below.

Also, be sure that you’re earning money from the usage of your music on YouTube; sign up for CD Baby’s YouTube Monetization Program

Promote Your Music on Youtube

  • http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/author-chris-robley Christopher Robley

    Nice. Thanks for sharing.

    @ChrisRobley

  • http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/author-chris-robley Christopher Robley

    Hopefully you didn’t lose much money. ; ) (It’s posted).

    @ChrisRobley

  • http://benwht.com Ben Wht

    I don’t think iMovie is the most user-friendly software, so it actually took a little while for me to figure this out the first time I did it, even though it seems simple now! Could have used this guide then. Anyway, here’s my result: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7at-g3L0K0Q Hope you like the song! Check out my website at http://benwht.com for more info and a free download :)

  • http://benwht.com Ben Wht

    I don’t think iMovie is the most user-friendly software, so it actually took a little while for me to figure this out the first time I did it, even though it seems simple now! Could have used this guide then. Anyway, here’s my result: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7at-g3L0K0Q Hope you like the song! Check out my website at http://benwht.com for more info and a free download :)

    • http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/author-chris-robley Christopher Robley

      Cool. Thanks for sharing the tune. And yes, it ain’t exactly an intuitive program. I agree.

      @ChrisRobley

  • http://musicgeekservices.com/ Chandler Coyle

    Digital marketing wizard just unveiled a tool that does this automatically: http://www.artwork.fm/

  • http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/author-chris-robley Christopher Robley

    Haha. Yes. We’ll bust you out of prison. And actually, that third party matched content warning is coming up because we’re monetizing your music on YouTube for you. You always retain 100% ownership of your music. Just click ok and we’ll make sure you get paid by YouTube.

    @ChrisRobley

  • http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/author-chris-robley Christopher Robley

    Well, we ARE going to do something that will hopefully yield the same results. When YouTube launches its streaming music service, artists who’ve opted in for CD Baby’s sync program will be included in their streaming catalog. So… we’ll send them your audio, artwork, and metadata and they’ll essentially create album art videos for you. You won’t be able to house them within your own channel, but you can definitely embed them on your website and such.

    @ChrisRobley

  • http://www.dmenacednb.com/ Dennis Deane

    Lol George , I’m avin a nightmare just trying do do cover art , from me iPad AAARR grrrr :D

  • http://www.dmenacednb.com/ Dennis Deane

    Yeh cheers guys, that helped a bit, the problem iv got is my tunes are on soundcloud at 24 bit wav, and on my hard drives, don’t have any way of getting them onto the iPad , which is lacking memory big time, also I’m very surprised cd bay doesn’t take 24 bit wavs, il av to try and re export the the track at 16 bit , put it on me drive then go library 2mora to upload track to cd bay, but I still have o try and get album cover art done another way looool anyone know a way round it be much appreciated , :D D Menace DnB

  • http://www.dmenacednb.com/ Dennis Deane

    Hey guys is cover art work the same as the clip or image you would use for YouTube video ? In I movie ? Seems to be so many restrictions with format and quality and not to sure what writing you can add and what you can not ? Can it be done from an iPad ?

    • http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/author-chris-robley Christopher Robley

      I’m not sure I understand the question. You should be able to use your cover artwork as the image in a YouTube video with any issues. And if you’re editing on iPad, I’m sure that’s fine.

      @ChrisRobley

    • http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/author-chris-robley Christopher Robley

      I’m not sure I understand the question. You should be able to use your cover artwork as the image in a YouTube video with any issues. And if you’re editing on iPad, I’m sure that’s fine.

      @ChrisRobley

  • http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/author-chris-robley Christopher Robley

    Well, there’s a few bonuses to working with CD Baby on monetizing your music across all of YouTube. First, to monetize your channel directly, you have to sign up for an Adsense account. If you are approved, that account has to earn $100 before you get paid. Also, when you monetize your channel, you are still not collecting money for the usage of your music on YouTube by other people. That can add up to a lot. That’s where you can get your fans involved and encourage them to use your music in THEIR videos. If you just monetize your channel, you won’t get paid for the usage of your music by others.

    For YouTube pros that want to monetize their channel directly, they should feel free — and as you said, they can write us at cdbaby@cdbaby.com to do so. But unless the artist is going to put a lot of effort into building a YouTube channel, it’s sometimes not worth the effort to monetize directly (in terms of maintenance, but more importantly, in terms of collecting money as soon as possible).

    @ChrisRobley

  • Alan Juarez

    Great Track Lewis. I am glad that you’ve made the Bay Area home. Enjoy the “High’s and Low’s”.

    Peace
    Skrippcha

  • http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/author-chris-robley Christopher Robley

    Nice. Thanks for sharing.

    @ChrisRobley

  • http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/author-chris-robley Christopher Robley

    Glad it was helpful. Sorry to hear that some old fans are digging the new direction, but hey, you gotta go where the muse takes you, right?

    @ChrisRobley

  • Gata Negrra

    Before I got to do my standard video in 2012, I made a few with just my logo on it. I figured, hey–content.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqSI6FRyzac&list=UU7mZh7GmSNIYanZj_HBFexw

  • http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/author-chris-robley Christopher Robley

    Cool idea. Thanks for sharing.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Ed Perrone

    I thought album art by itself was kind of boring, so I added the song’s lyrics to the video. Not a whole lot of extra trouble, and I think it makes the video a LOT more interesting.

    • http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/author-chris-robley Christopher Robley

      Agreed. Helps get people into the song way more. Thanks for sharing.

      @ChrisRobley