How to Use Collaborations to Enhance Your YouTube Strategy

Man filming woman playing violin

Man filming woman playing violin

+ Welcome to Soundfly! We help curious musicians meet their goals with creative online courses. Whatever you want to learn, whenever you need to learn it. Subscribe now to start learning on the ’Fly.

By Derral Eves

YouTube and music have been a great pair since the beginning in 2005. Some of the world’s biggest YouTube channels are music channels. I’ve been on YouTube since the beginning, and I’ve worked with so many musicians who found huge success on the platform.

If you’re a musician and you don’t have a YouTube presence… what are you waiting for?

With everything going on in the world over the past year, there is literally no better time to work on your online presence than now. So many live events are canceled, and people have to satisfy their connection through music remotely. Satisfy these music lovers’ needs!

How? I’ll make it easy.

  1. Take notes on successful musicians in your niche on YouTube.
  2. Start uploading your own videos.
  3. And, pair up with other musicians to extend your reach.

There are so many things that go into making great content on YouTube, but don’t overwhelm yourself by looking at them all at once. Start with these three basics, and learn as you go.

You can learn so much by watching what other channels like yours are doing right. You probably already watch a ton of content on these channels; take notes! See how they create, edit, and interact with their audiences. Then copy what they do in your own videos.

When I say “copy,” I don’t mean “copycat.” Be original and be yourself, but do what others are doing successfully. If your content has similarities to other creators’ content in your niche, you are giving the YouTube algorithms a chance to find your content and suggest it alongside theirs.

Then don’t be afraid to reach out to these creators and ask if they want to collaborate on a video. When you collaborate, your similar audiences will like what the other has to offer, and you can extend your reach in viewership by leaps and bounds … or should I say rhythms and measures?

+ Read more on Flypaper: “What Musicians Can Learn from Content Marketing (You Read That Right).”

Great Pairs = Great Success

Music collabs on YouTube have been extremely successful for so many musicians. Pairing up with the right people can literally change everything for your channel. I’ve seen channels in many different genres grow exponentially from a single collaboration.

The first music channel I helped was a little piano store that wanted to sell more pianos. Their plan was to increase in-store sales by enhancing their online presence. “The Piano Guys” filmed videos of Jon Schmidt on a grand piano and Steven Sharp Nelson on the cello. They filmed outdoors in the most beautiful locations.

Their YouTube channel exploded. They began selling out stadiums worldwide and earning money through their YouTube channel, and guess what? They never sold a single piano in the store.

The Piano Guys were successful on their own, but do you know what connected them to an even bigger audience and a more loyal fan base? Collaborations with other musicians. They connected with YouTube music channels, and they boosted each other’s subscribership and fan base. Smart and successful collaborations are always win-win.

YouTube views

Hit the Right Audience With the Right Collab

This seems intuitive, but I need to say it anyway: collaborate with the right creators. Do you think The Piano Guys have ever collaborated with a heavy metal band?

No. Their audience does not cross over any more than it would with a make-up tutorial channel. But they have seen big growth from collaborations with musicians like Lindsey Stirling, Peter Hollens, David Archuleta, and Lexi Walker.

We’ve already talked about how everyone is flying solo a lot more these days (you know, global pandemic), but don’t let that hinder your collaborative endeavors. There are always ways to connect; you just have to get creative. Collaborate on a Zoom meeting. Collaborate IRL but seven feet apart. Collaborate on a live stream.

Make a list of 30 music channels in your niche and start talking to them. Send emails. Comment on their videos. Connect on other social platforms. Find their Contact tab on their website. If all 30 say no thanks, make another list. (*Bonus tip: do the same thing with brands you want to work with.)

Get Help… Let’s Collaborate!

I’ve seen creators from every walk of life fail… but I’ve also seen them succeed. I’ve helped generate more than 60 billion views on YouTube. I know what it takes to grow your audience. I know how to monetize and how to diversify your income in ways you didn’t even know existed.

And I want to help you. I have a lot of resources to help YouTube creators, including my YouTube channel, Derral Eves, and my group coaching program Channel JumpStart, but I’m most excited about my new book (out as of February 23). It’s called The YouTube Formula: How Anyone Can Unlock the Algorithm to Drive Views, Build an Audience, and Grow Revenue, and I go really in-depth on audience growth and monetization. There are loads of case studies that talk about successful collaborations in the book.

Stop flying solo, and start connecting with creators, brands, and businesses that will help you. Chances are, they need you as much as you need them. What do you have to lose by asking? More importantly, what do you have to offer? (Go ahead and make a list of this, too.)

When you start to figure out who your best audience and your best potential connections are, you’ll have so many opportunities to grow. More collaboration opportunities will open up with other musicians, but also with brands that can help you grow financially.

The only thing better than sharing your music with the world is getting paid to share your music with the world!

Happy collaborating!

Improve all aspects of your music with Soundfly. 

Subscribe here to get unlimited access to Soundfly’s premium course content, an invitation to join our private Slack community forum, exclusive perks from partner brands, and massive discounts on personalized mentor sessions for guided learning. Learn what you want, whenever, with total freedom.

film scoring course ad

Join our Mailing List

We offer creative courses, articles, podcast episodes, and one-on-one mentorship for curious musicians. Stay up to date!


7 Tips for Maximizing Productivity and Creative Output as an Artist

The Wonder Years’ Casey Cavaliere provides his top tips for time management, productivity and self-motivation for freelancers in a guest post.

live artist singing on stage


5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Music Venue for Your Live Act

What are the most important factors in determining which venues best suit your live act? Find out in advance of booking your next tour.


Our 6 Favorite MIDI Controllers for Under $200

Need some high-functioning, super modern options for MIDI Controllers but don’t have a lot to spend? These 6 are our absolute favorites!