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Indie 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

In this article

Join the Conversation

  • Linda Vee Sado

    Or don’t knock yourself out and use http://www.tunestotube.com/ all you have to do is upload the jpg album cover and MP3 and they even send it to youtube for you.

  • I prefer to make a still frame for these kind of videos (or I ask my graphic designer to make it) which is almost the same as the album cover, except this one is not square, but 1920×1080, (so it doesn’t have black edges) Something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMdaVJ0V6Do

  • Linda Vee Sado

    I made a bet on a private radio chat with some musicians you would not post my better solution when I posted a link to tunestotube 😉

  • Nice. Thanks for sharing.

    @ChrisRobley

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

    @ChrisRobley

  • 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 🙂

  • 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 🙂

  • Ronnie

    Wouldn’t it be great if when CD Baby encodes audio for digital distro it also encoded the audio and album art into a downloadable video file, and make it available on our artist dashboards?

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

    • Henrique

      Nice

  • The funny part is when I created and published a music video to YouTube to promote my song on CD Baby, I got a warning from YouTube that my video “Matched third party content” on CD Baby. So I’m now officially pirating my own song, apparently? Am I gonna go to jail? If yes, can you guys send me a cake with a steel file in it?

    • This way CDBaby will take revenue from your own Youtube channel for no reason. They will never tell you, but there is a way to opt-out from this. You have to send an email to CDBaby and ask them to exclude your Youtube channel from monetizing it. This way your Youtube channel revenue will go to you directly, and CDBaby doesn’t get a cut from it for no reason.

      • Adrian

        They…..uhh……actually do tell you in many many places on their website that they take a cut and as well as explain what Chris explains.

        • Show me just one from that “many many” places… I didn’t see it anywhere. But even if it’s there, it doesn’t change the fact, that they take revenue from your own channel for no reason by default.

  • 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

  • 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

    • Adrian

      I’m not sure if that makes sense @ChrisRobley. So, if I opt in, I won’t be able to house them on my own channel but yet somehow I can still have friends and fans upload videos, or no? I think if an artist cannot house their own videos, that will ultimately hurt them because a fan may just search for an artists channel and not really look beyond there for more content. Is there a way to either still self-house as well as Youtube house? If not, I would advise very big plain text letters with flashy lights to make sure that people understand. If this is how I understand it, for example, I would probably opt to host it on my own channel.

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

  • 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 Menace DnB

  • 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 ?

    • 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

    • 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

  • 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

  • Lewis Hurrell

    Bam!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68qtUiFcVQI

    I always make up these things when I release a new track.

  • Solomon Vaughn

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGK2gykcs_E&list=UUWExHWSz3ha3sZJOLrEvg5w

    Great article! I feel like reading this today is further confirmation for me to continue uploading “album art” videos to my YouTube like I have somewhat reluctantly been doing recently. I’ve been back-and-forth for a while about it because a LOT of my old subscribers/followers who do NOT like or appreciate my new direction in music/sound tend to stay subscribed to me only to bash, criticize and put me down within MINUTES every single time I put something new up. It never fails! lol. It’s a bit discouraging… But in order to reach the new audiences that’ll “get it”, I have to put the new music up and not let the naysayers hold me down. Here’s my most recent released track… I appreciate all the DIY Musician Blog articles, thanks!

  • We’ve done both album art and slideshow and they are very easy to do. -The Jellybeans

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd2mh3oLsoA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO_PewDLeCY

  • ACIDGREEN TECHNO

    at youtube video settings site its also possible to change the video thumbnail 😉 TECHNO DJ SET – MIX 2014 PEAKTIME SESSIONS BY ACIDGREEN [PSYCHEDELIC VIDEO ANIMATION BEST HD HQ MIX]
    http://youtu.be/8w5xK8WzOGw

  • ACIDGREEN TECHNO

    at youtube video settings site its also possible to change the video thumbnail :)) TECHNO DJ SET – MIX 2014 PEAKTIME SESSIONS BY ACIDGREEN [PSYCHEDELIC VIDEO ANIMATION BEST HD HQ MIX]
    http://youtu.be/8w5xK8WzOGw

  • 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

  • Nice. Thanks for sharing.

    @ChrisRobley

  • 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=dKQjKp1mMIU&list=UU7mZh7GmSNIYanZj_HBFexw
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqSI6FRyzac&list=UU7mZh7GmSNIYanZj_HBFexw

  • eazyjay

    download all my songs and mixtapes @ my.notjustok.com/p/eazyjayboy

  • We make lyric videos using Windows Movie Maker or MuVee. Everyone has it built in and it’s easy. Questions or wanna hear more visit aequus1.com Here is our Xmas video…Happy Holidays! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-t3s_D6_7I

  • Cool idea. Thanks for sharing.

    @ChrisRobley

    • Hope it helps someone. Thanks for your article.

  • 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://youtu.be/u20yD16rPRs

  • Matt Wheeler

    Great tip, Chris – I’ll be making these videos for my songs. Thank you!

  • Nice. And be sure to create album playlists on YouTube!

    @ChrisRobley

    • Matt Wheeler

      Good call. I will do that, too. Thank you, Chris!

  • Adrian

    This is awesome. I was just about to Google search ow to do this when I stumbled on it via the cdbaby FB page. 🙂

  • Frankie Nash

    thank you for giving such an information;it will be of tremendous help

  • Awesome. Glad it was helpful.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Awesome. Glad it was helpful.

    @ChrisRobley

  • YouTube will have album art videos for every song (housed by Music Key), BUT… you should always house your official music videos in your own channel. I have heard that YouTube Music Key will favor the official video, and only fill in missing content with the stuff they’re housing (since most artists don’t have videos for every single song).

    @ChrisRobley

  • Oh, but regarding other people uploading videos with your music — yes, they can still do that. And you’ll still earn ad revenue from those videos.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Timely article for me. There is a guy in the user group on FB in which I participate and he does some great things with his songs and pictorial images through out the song. Once you know how to add one graphic it’s not tough to drop in additional photos at various points in the song to bring some added meaning. I think of it as a poor-man’s video, using photos in this fashion. Thanks for sharing.

  • Ben Hammond

    Just made one. Used several photos from the recording session: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wD5KGvqgit8

  • Yamuna Jivana dasa

    Could Windows Movie Maker perhaps do this too? I’m a blind musician but if a software is screen-reader-friendly I could give it a shot. Any ideas?

  • I’m not super familiar with that program, but from what I understand I think you can totally make album art videos with Windows Movie Maker. Just add a still image of the cover over the audio track.

    @ChrisRobley

  • I’m not super familiar with that program, but from what I understand I think you can totally make album art videos with Windows Movie Maker. Just add a still image of the cover over the audio track.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Ha. Yep. Poor-man’s video. I made one of those just last week! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9VkkyY8otE&list=PLuujYJOdPzY0iG6ymhDT1GrKXd_Is0v-8

    Glad the article was helpful.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Ha. Yep. Poor-man’s video. I made one of those just last week! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9VkkyY8otE&list=PLuujYJOdPzY0iG6ymhDT1GrKXd_Is0v-8

    Glad the article was helpful.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Nice. Thanks for sharing the link!

    @ChrisRobley

  • Nice. Thanks for sharing the link!

    @ChrisRobley

  • http://members.cdbaby.com/faq.aspx#youtube11

    Also, write to cdbaby@cdbaby.com with your channel info and explain that you’d like to monetize your channel videos directly. We will stop collecting ad revenue for those.

    @ChrisRobley

    • I still don’t see anywhere to mention that you will take revenue from the artists OWN Youtube channel too…. and that it wouldn’t be necessary…

      “Also, write to cdbaby@cdbaby.com with your channel info” – I know that. I already did.

  • dubfarmer

    These are terrible, very poorly written instructions. Whoever wrote this should be either fired, or seriously lectured until they can make more sense. Step 5 should not be a step at all – it would only apply if the user was only using iMovie, which was clearly stated not be the case in the beginning of the instructions. This makes your site look bad.

  • Jonathan Johnson

    hey my names JayxJay the producer I am a new upcoming producer from detroit. I’m a huge fan of your work bro. check me out sometime https://soundcloud.com/jj_theproducer. keep grinding brotha! thanks

  • Ric Seaberg
  • One other cool way to create your own music video or some FX parts, is using of templates for After Effects or other soft. Here you can find one them: https://vimeo.com/143846741

    All you need just import your music and choose visualizer with you like.

  • Still frame? I’d suggest always use at least 2 images and a transition. Would not want to give someone screen-burn!

  • Los Wit The Most

    I make these videos for artists.. $5…. 3 day turnaround…. 10 track maximum.

    Go to my Fiverr gig to order: http://www.fiverr.com/s/8u6oos?utm_source=sms_Mobile

  • Jeremy Loveland

    https://youtu.be/28_Dj3EIEx0

    Made with You Tube Movie maker. great free program and easy as hell to use! Love the metal.