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The Shortened Lifespan of a YouTube Video: Lessons for Musicians

Yesterday TubeMogul released figures showing that nowadays a YouTube videos half-life is just 6 days long. To put that in layman’s terms; on average,  half of a YouTube videos total views will occur over the first 6 days of it being published. It hasn’t always been this way. Only two years ago, way back when in 2008, the half-life of a YouTube video was 14 days! In just two years the half-life has decreased by more than 130%! A handy chart by this guy illustrates the point:

The Life Expectancy of Youtube Hits

The technorati are putting the trend down to three factors:

  1. The explosion in the numbers of videos being posted to YouTube (they now stream nearly 2bn video plays per day).
  2. The ease with which people can now embed videos into web content, including social networks.
  3. Changes in the way the YouTube interface is designed which prioritises new video content over old.

So, what does this mean for musicians who are trying to get their videos seen? As we know from previous posts YouTube is the number one place people go to find music online so having a presence here is vital. We also know that artists who release more singles more often are reaping the rewards of this strategy in record sales. It seems a no-brainer then that musicians should be releasing as many songs as possible, backed up with as many videos as possible to maximise their chances of gaining entry into the ever diminishing attention-span of the modern-day listening public. And a lack of new material shouldn’t be an obstacle either; we’ve written before about how multiple videos for the same song can breath new life into material, introduce it to new viewers and thereby extend its lifespan on YouTube. Releasing other forms of video content such as vlogs, interviews, backstage videos, tour diaries and live footage will keep decent levels of traffic to your YouTube channel and your website in between official releases. Invest in a user-friendly digital camcorder and get uploading – it will pay off.

The other lesson to be learnt is that you need to have a way to capitalise on video views straight off. There is no point releasing a video for a new single a week before it can be purchased on your site or on iTunes; by that stage you’ll have missed half of your audience. So, if you’re planning on selling your music, have all your ducks in a row before you release content online, otherwise you’re doing yourself no favours.

3 Comments

Music Marketing Chris 9:40 pm - 19th January:

That’s a really interesting stat, just shows how important a well thought out music marketing plan is.

Good to see you guys using tube mogul. Along with ping.fm these two are massive time savers.

Speak soon,

– Chris

eilish 10:34 am - 21st January:

Thanks for reading Chris!

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  1. [...] while back we posted about the decreasing life span of videos on YouTube.