The following guest post comes from music tech entrepreneur and self-professed ‘Soundcloud Addict’ Dan Polaske. Connect with him at @dpolaske.
In two years, Timeflies went from being nobodies to selling out shows across the country and blasting sexy music into eager ears everywhere. How did they do it?
By killing it on YouTube.
Rob and Cal put all their eggs in the YouTube basket. They started dropping a new video every week. This weekly video, dubbed Timeflies Tuesday, is basically anything the guys are feeling. Such as: freestyles, covers, original songs, music videos, and behind-the-scenes footage. Their current YouTube numbers are seriously sexy… we are talking 284,000 subscribers and over 72,000,000 video views.
Are these guys child prodigies? NO. Screw rabbit holes, lets dive head first into this basket of eggs and see how they did it.
The first Timeflies Tuesday did nothing for me. It was just an intro video, but it was quite terrible. See for yourself:
The second Timeflies Tuesday also sucked.
This second video got me a little more excited than the first, but it still wasn’t great. It just wasn’t sticky enough to make me wanna tune in the next week. They continued to release videos for 7 more weeks, with basically zero success. That’s 2 whole months worth of work, with nothing to show for it. They finally broke their dry spell on the 8th video.
*These early videos have high view counts now, but when they were first released the view counts were microscopic.
This is the video that turned me on to Timeflies. It did not go crazy viral, but it did get them in the game.
They continued droppin’ fresh videos for the next 5 weeks. Again, not really landing any haymakers, but still pushing. Then their 14th video went viral!
It is still one of my favorite videos to date!
That’s it right? They went viral! So now they are super famous and can cashout… right? Hell no! That was only the beginning of their journey to YouTube awesomeness. With videos like ‘Natty Beats’ and ‘Under the Sea’, they finally began to understand what really gets their fans going.
Next, Timeflies continued to give fans what they wanted with each weekly video release. ’Under the Sea’ got them an epic head start, but staying consistent is what really kept their fan base steadily growing. Timeflies have released a video almost every week for over two years.
You are gonna suck at first
Timeflies sucked when they started. Now they are kicking ass. You are gonna suck when you start, and if you put in the time and effort hopefully you will kickass one day. But get started now, because the sooner you do, the sooner you will stop sucking. I’m serious! Don’t wait and plan for the perfect first video. Sit down, give yourself a reasonable deadline, and release something.
You will learn more from releasing a terrible video than you will from not releasing a video at all.
A weekly video release forces you to create a lot of content. The more content you create, the better it will become. You will improve your releases by learning each week what your fans like and dislike. Also, by dropping new jams every week you will keep your fans engaged with you and your music.
Know your fans
Releasing weekly content to an engaged audience provides an artist with an epic feedback loop. Do something crazy! Release a ridiculous video, drop a really funky track and see what sticks. Your goal should be to entertain, but also to build a deeper understanding of your fans. Learn what your fans love and what they hate. This will serve as a musical road map as your sound evolves.
Timeflies have a gang of YouTube groupies flocking to their shows across the country. Their journey to YouTube stardom is by no means the only path. However, they have laid out turn-by-turn directions to finding success in the video content game.
Spending loads of time and money on one or two videos you hope go viral may not be the best plan. Could it work? Sure! A better plan is to take a page out of Timeflies playbook and build an audience on YouTube through patience and persistence.”