How to Get Your YouTube Video to Go Viral

August 10, 2011{ 37 Comments }

You can’t. Thanks for reading.

Kidding, kidding. But seriously: if going viral is part of your plan, you’re aiming high, and attempting to do something that very few have done, and even fewer have done on purpose. Obviously you’re making a video in hopes that people will like it and share it with their friends. But if you’re banking on a million-hits-a-day phenomenon, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Marketing departments for major companies have attempted time and time again to get their thinly veiled ad campaigns to go viral, and they rarely succeed. Sometimes trying too hard comes off as just that, and most viral videos aren’t the product of meticulous planning. And that’s the problem. If there were a formula for crafting a clip that was guaranteed to reach the masses (with the added bonus of letting them do the work of spreading the word for you), we’d all be doing it.

In the category of music, it’s an even tougher egg to crack. Most viral music vids are ones that people laugh at, regardless of whether that was the artist’s intention or not. Rebecca Black’s “Friday” has been viewed millions of times, but probably not for the reasons she had hoped it would. The same can be said for some of those “worst band ever” vids we’ve all seen. Hilarious? Yes. The stepping stone to an illustrious career? Nah.

Of course, most of us would be ecstatic if we got 10,000 views of one our videos on YouTube, and accomplishing something like that (which would be considered viral in my small scale of expectations) isn’t out of the question for anyone. Get creative, make a cool/fun/funny/compelling clip, and it just might get more traction than you ever thought it would. You’ll probably find that reaching a smaller audience with your unique voice will be much more rewarding than trying to assemble something that will sweep the nation.

Having said that, can you think of any music-related viral (or just popular) videos that you think worked well for the band that created them? This Weezer video came to mind (, and even though I think it’s kind of corny, it ended up being a crafty way for them to latch on to the viral thing.

Post your links in the comments, and let’s enjoy some clips.

  • Johnny Beane

    A video of my dog yawning went Viral about 4 years ago.
    I had no idea it would or meant it to.

    I just filmed a video of my Dalmatian Howie yawning – he will yawn when i tell him to.
    Turns out it sounds like he's talking back to me.

    About a week after i uploaded it i started getting messages from people saying they saw my dog on yahoo's front page.
    Later there was an AOL blog that featured my video then a TV station in the UK did a story about yawning and used a clip of my video.

    So now my dog has a facebook page and fans all around the world.

    And he has no idea!

    If u want to see his video just search "Dog yawning on command & talking back to me" on youtube.

    Of i guess i could just post the link.

    Keep on rockin everyone!

    • CD Baby Admin

      Ah. Happy accidents!

  • Pacman Anthem
  • CD Baby Admin

    Thanks for sharing!

  • CD Baby Admin


  • Lorrainebarry

    Lonely Robot….sob…sob….

    • CD Baby Admin

      Sweet video! and really nice song, too.

  • Claudia Morris Barcl

    Here Is a prime example of a musical group getting a ridiculous number of hits on YouTube. This may be considered "viral" on a small scale with over 5 and a half million hits. ever hear of the group Turquoise Jeep? Learn more at

    • CD Baby Admin

      Smash it AND bang. A favorite combination.

  • CD Baby Admin

    Write what you know. Sing what you love. Nice!

  • CD Baby Admin

    Very nice. Thanks for sharing.

  • CD Baby Admin

    The return of the topical song!

  • CD Baby Admin

    Very cool. I hope they're still together.

  • Silber Records

    I made this lego motion video ( ) a while back & it seems like I did the write things to get a viral video in that it looks good & lego motion is popular & it's a decent song & I even put in $50 for ads at a penny per click (presumably accounting for 2/3 of the hits). I read all these things from people who get 10,000 or more views on a regular basis & am totally confused as to how they do it & I wonder at times if they even really know. If you have ideas to make this video get a second life, hit me on twitter.

  • King___baller

    justin bieber fights a fight well.. lets say face to face disagreement it gets intense

  • True Witness
  • Drummer_Nash

    Please let me know what you think!

    • CD Baby


  • Drummer_Nash
  • Chrstphrholmes

    Check out my NEW video "Again". I wrote this song after I survived a suicide attempt. Please CELEBRATE LIFE… .

  • Danfiorante

    Aiur comes to mind while reading this,
    If you haven't heard of them yet, give them a go-some insane videos and music.

  • guest

    this one's kinda went viral… :)

  • Christopher Robley

    Nice vocals. I'm not sure this video would ever go viral, though, with just the still image. You'd have a far better chance with something video-oriented to catch peoples' attention.

  • JM
  • Angelo Brillante

    Hi! I'm a musician on youtube and I hope one day I'll get to have a well formed audience… for now I usually reach around 1000 views per video and I think that's not bad!!!! This is my latest one… Still waiting for one to go 'viral' :)

  • Cruz Conde Sings

    Hi my name is cruz im 13 i have a channel and the most ive gotten is 405 plz check out my videos plz i want one to go viral so bad

  • alex dew

  • Herb

    My Latest Video… I hope you like it!

  • Herb

  • Rimmi€ The ∅fficial♚

  • Reina Collins

    Reina Collins with Hal Gerard perform 1952 Vincent Black Lightning. Richard Thompson cover. Posted with permission from BMG Chrysalis.

  • Kevin Howell

    My buddy playing electric guitar, harmonica, kick drum and tambourine at the same time while singing

  • Kevin Howell

    My buddy playing electric guitar, harmonica, kick drum and tambourine at the same time while singing

  • Christopher Robley

    Yeah, that’s one way to do it.


  • savage henry

  • Kushal Jasoria

    I’ve been posting my videos on youtube for over 2 months now. This is my quality of work but nothing special has happened yet !

  • Kushal Jasoria

    This is the quality of my work. Been posting since 2 months. Nothing special yet!