30 YouTube Music Promotion Channels (That Decide What Goes Viral)

Budi VoogtCreativity, Life, Music Marketing, SoundCloud / YouTube / Spotify50 Comments

The New Tastemakers: 30 YouTube Music Promotion Channels (That Decide What Goes Viral)

I was thinking about what marketing efforts got our music the most exposure. The answer was clear: YouTube Music Promotion Channels. Also known as YouTube promoters, promo channels, music promo channels, broadcasters, YouTube blogs and a variety of other names.

To some this may be a familiar topic, to many it won’t be. One thing is for sure though – they are the new taste-makers of electronic music.

With the relevance of radio, record stores and even digital shops like iTunes and Beatport faltering, streaming is becoming the widely adopted choice for listening to music. YouTube, Soundcloud and Spotify is where it’s at.

Altogether, YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify, Vevo, Vimeo and Rdio brought in 434 BILLION plays over 2014. That’s a whopping 95% increase over 2013 and a 363% increase over 2012. Streaming really is the next big thing.

Out of all those platforms, YouTube is by far the most used. Everyone’s on there, not just the younger generation, and it probably boasts the widest selection of music of all the streaming services. The latest statistics reported that over 30% of YouTube plays were people listening to music videos.

What are YouTube music promotion channels?

In 2008, a trend started where people launched YouTube channels to upload music. Often teenagers between the age of 15-20, rendering videos with tracks that they loved and artwork that looked cool, so that their friends and randoms could listen to the music.

The music was selected because they wanted to support the artist, or because the tracks weren’t available on YouTube yet. As this trend coincided with the rise of electronic music, the result is that the majority of promo channels are pushing Electronic Dance Music (EDM).

As YouTube grew, so did many of the promoters and an eco-system developed where many EDM producers looked to get uploaded by the most influential YouTube music promotion channels in their genre. It became important to be on those channels – and in turn it became a ‘thing’ to start promo channels.

It’s something that started out so simple, yet became so huge.

As YouTube grew and further implemented their monetization system, many channels professionalized. YouTube’s advertising system allows them to place ads on their uploads, resulting in a pay-out that is determined by the number and duration of plays.

If you have an average deal with a YouTube network, or with YouTube itself, channels earn between $1 for about 1250-2000 plays. Of course, monetization can only be done with permission of the rights-holders, which the promo channels need to get from both the owners of the music and any artwork they might use. Sometimes this has to be granted by the artist directly, other times by the labels.

As a result, the eco-system developed even further – where all the rising electronic producers now look to be uploaded by the major channels, and the channels pick the music that is bound to do well with their audience. The promo channels profit by monetization and keep the money, whereas the artist is paid by the exposure they receive. A model that’s been serving both parties well for quite some time now.

A selection of promo channels have developed audiences far exceeding the thousands of subscribers. Many are in the 50.000 – 200.000 range, but a selected few – typically the first to get started in the trend and to professionalize – have built tremendous followings.

One of the house / chill promoters called Majestic Casual now boasts over 2.2 million subscribers, averaging 32 million plays per month.

A quick look at their SocialBlade profile shows that their estimated yearly earnings are between 75k and 1.2 million USD – the latter being more likely, as they have enough clout to negotiate a monetization deal where they receive a good pay-per-view and revenue share.

The top 50-100 YouTube music promotion channels each have such big audiences that they can create significant ripples in the scenes of the styles of music they are pushing. It’s becoming a way to reach a more mainstream audience, which even the major labels are catching on to. Many of the biggest promo channels have deals with the majors to get exclusives on tracks.

Promo channels truly have the power to define what’s hot or not.

How to get promoted?

This is the right question to ask – for which the answer is essentially the same as for when you are trying to get signed by a record label.

First and foremost, you need to have great music, good (visual) branding and set-up your online profiles correctly.

After that, it’s a matter of building relationships and adding value. Figuring out how you can stand out from the crowd.

The golden rule is never to spam – and to only pitch stuff to people of which you’re certain they will appreciate it. Learn more about pitching in our guide here.

The biggest promotional channels, specifically the guys whom I am about to outline below, all receive tremendous amounts of submissions. The best way to submit content to them is to figure out who the channel operators are, to establish relationships with them and to submit via personalized emails.

And if you can’t seem to get in touch with them, you’re already far ahead of the curve if your product offering is exceptional and you’re sending them a to-the-point email, to the right address, that includes their first name.

The essentials of a good submission:

  • Use clear email subjects. The format that we found to use is: “Artist name – Track name (Possible version)”, so for example “Ark Patrol – Voyager” or “Eastside – Ellie (Ark Patrol Remix)”.
  • Only send finished material. No work-in-progress tracks. Make sure everything is properly mixed and mastered.
  • Only send material to which you own all the rights. No unofficial remixes, bootlegs or tracks with uncleared samples.
  • Submit music pre-release. Promoters like getting tunes before they come out, as the best of them schedule their uploads weeks in advance.
  • Offer them exclusives or premieres. Exclusives are that only they are entitled to the upload. Typically this is done under an embargo of a number of days – say a three day exclusive from the release date onwards. Premieres are when they are granted a head-start on the upload before any other blogs, typically for a one day period.
  • Always include a stream. Promoters never want to have to download before listening to the track. Private Soundcloud sharing links are ideal for this.
  • Always include a download link. Either enable ‘download’ on your Soundcloud upload and mention that you’ve done so in your mail, or add a download link from a trusted host like Dropbox or Google drive. TIP: Do not use Zippyshare or Mediafire, because of the pop-ups and slow download speeds.
  • We like to include all the relevant information in the description of the private Soundcloud upload, including the release description (press text), private download links for the promoter, public download / purchase links (which will be active on release day) and the social media links of the artist and Heroic.

The approach that we use, is that for every release we put out on our label, we make a selection of the key tastemakers in that specific genre, to which we submit the release via personalized emails. We’ve established relationships these key promoters – so short and to-the-point emails suffice.

The New Tastemakers: 30 YouTube Music Promotion Channels (That Decide What Goes Viral) - 2

Once all premiere or exclusive periods have passed, we send a nicely stylized Mailchimp mailout to our YouTube promo and blog partners. As many of these have gotten to know us over time, they don’t mind getting an automated mail – and as a result some of them whom weren’t in our initial target selection pick up on the release.

The key to seeing good results when sending mailers, is to first have established personal relationships with the people you’re sending to. That way the newsletter isn’t just from a random person, and you’ll see your open and response rates improve when people recognize the sender.

Should the promoter be interested in uploading your music, be prepared to sign a license agreement that grants them the rights to upload and commercially exploit (monetize) the release. You can only lawfully grant this license if you control the rights to the music.

If a channel uploads uncleared material without permission, they can be striked by the actual rights-holders. After three strikes a total YouTube channel can be taken down permanently.

For more detailed tips on how to pitch to YouTube promoters, check out this article I wrote for DJTechTools or this article where I’ve written some notes on how to pitch and shared some email templates.

A Selection Of The Finest

The way this works is that a number of promo channels dominate a specific sound or style.

A few promoters rule the bass music scene. A few others deep house. And so on.

I have created a selection of the most influential taste-makers in the current electronic music genres.

Now this list is by no means exhaustive – there are way more promo channels – but rather a strong guideline for which players you gotta look to get support from in each scene. As for pitching to them, do not take my genre descriptions as fully restrictive of all the music that they promote. Many of them will go beyond their primary genres, if the music is good enough or the goodwill is there.

The subscriber count and submission addresses are added for all channels (only if they made it public, of course). You should work with the assumption that the bigger the channel, the more sought after they are – so you’ll find those founders harder to trace, and the channels harder to get on.

I also spoke to some of my promoter friends to ask them about what they specifically look for in submissions, which I added as to those channel’s descriptions.

Before pitching your music to any of these channels, make sure to have listened to at least five of their most recent uploads, to get a good feel for what music they are promoting.


You now have insight into the one secret that brought Heroic and our artists the most exposure.

Without the help of our friends that run promo channels, we wouldn’t be where we are now – so if you’re an artist in any of the scenes mentioned above, I highly urge you to invest time and effort into building relationships with these people and to try and get amazing music out to their audiences.

YouTube Music Promotion channels changed the game for us. And they can for you too.

P.S: If you liked these tips, you should check out my book The Soundcloud Bible. It contains a ton of other strategies that will teach you how to get exposure and build an audience.

  • Chris Howland

    Excellent article. Very helpful. Got inspired and sent out emails to like…40 YT channels, haha.

  • Thanks Chris, happy to hear that!

  • Very helpful article and PDF. I was lucky enough to get one of my tracks uploaded by Funky Panda and I saw a dramatic increase in the number of followers I received (much more than any other method I’d tried). Looking to build relationships with other channels as well now, so this list and notes are invaluable – thank you.

  • Awesome to hear that YouTube promotion is working for you. Funky Panda is a great channel!

  • Uplifting EDM

    This is a great list! Thank you for sharing it with us, I thought I would share back this list of 40 soundcoud channels promoting electronic music as well: https://www.reddit.com/r/edmproduction/comments/3kjxfw/40_soundcloud_channels_networks_you_should_know/

  • You’re very welcome. Good tip, thanks for sharing.

  • Kira

    There is enough info about how to get promoted but not about how to promote.Can anyone tell me how that goes on?

  • BOND

    Hey, Budi, thanks for this article, it’s great. I love “The Soundcloud Bible” as well, it’s been quite useful for me. What are your thoughts on paying to be reposted or uploaded to a promo channel? Have you run into that? Would it be worth the investment or would an artist be better off finding someone who may post them for free off the strength of the submission?

  • This is a question I’m asked more often. I am strongly against paying for any form of promotion. The best publications, whether blogs or YouTube channels will be respectable enough to find means to monetize their business without charging creators for coverage. Don’t do it. If you want to invest, find a PR agency or a good plugger to rep you.

  • Mixtape Cover King

    Excellent article. My clients I create music graphics for use these exact strategies and it works one of my clients got 382 subscribers in 1 day

  • STATS

    Great article, thanks for sending me this.

  • Oscar Bálint Palmgren

    Very helpful and memorable article, but do you have any tips for aritst that don’t do just electronic music? How should, say a singer/songwriter, or an indie artist get his/her music out to a larger audience? Are there any promo channels that share this kind of music? It’d be really appreciated if you’d share a list with channels that don’t only post electronic music.

  • You’re welcome 🙂

  • Diego Magpayo

    Budi, great job n the article! really helpful. But i have one question, getting the rights of a song that i want to remix seems so impossible. I’ researched on how to get em, and all these sites are telling me either that covers are best, you have to pay for the rights to the record label, or the artist, or deal with a bootleg/ unofficial remix. I really don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing anymore. I’ve always thought that it was a free deal to get a licence to use a song for a remix because all these channels that post remixes seem to have such an easy time giving their track. Do they really have the rights or are they really just releasing unofficial remixes?

  • Thank @diegomagpayo:disqus.

    Clearing unofficial remixes is hard and therefore I do not recommend you do not spend your energy there. Instead, focus on original music.

    Many of the YouTube channels upload illegitimate remixes and then get striked, as it is risky business. I’ve seen many big channels go down because of this.

  • With the increasing popularity of YouTube / SoundCloud music promotion, more and more channels are sprouting which focus on genres other than electronic music. I’d recommend you research currently ‘hot’ artists that are similar to yourselves, to see who these channels are. Then reach out to them.

  • Jonathan Tessier

    Great job budi, this is really useful! Any advice on indie pop rock chanels?

  • DoYou2014

    Hey the link on Reddit is removed, and nowhere to be found. If you could repost a new downloadable link that would be great or maybe I can email you and we can take it from there. Thanks.

  • Caydin Cezar Sitinjak

    Wow Budi, This has article has helped me tremendiously. Just reading these tips and tricks have really opened up a whole other world things to try in order to get my music out there. I just want to say thanks for this advice! I’ve always had a struggle networking myself properly and have always wondering how people do it! I will always be coming back to this for hints and tips! 😀

  • In order to operate legitimately, they need to get an upload permission sheet signed off by the holder of the master rights.

    However, as many channels are operated by youngsters, many are unaware of the necessity to license, where others simply take the risk on some records and upload anyway. Some play a very risky game in uploading unofficial remixes as they believe these have a good probability of getting a lot of traction.

  • Caydin Cezar Sitinjak

    Really great advice! Thanks for the read! Loving all of the content your posting, I’m learning tons 😀

  • Not aware of any particular ones. I’d look for currently popping acts in that niche and see who are supporting them.

  • Very great and insightful article Budi.

  • Jan Schmitz

    Thanks for this eye opening article! Is there an article you recommend to get a deeper understanding of licensing?

  • Thanks for reading Mike!

  • I think you’re doing a lot of great things @colortheory:disqus, so no need to feel guilty :).

    Have definitely noticed that the point where my artists are not afraid to say “Hey, this is my art – check it out”, is when they start getting more traction, as that level of confidence is alluring. However, usually they need to get validation, both offline (shows) and online (plays / followers), before they get to that level.

  • A lot of people ask me this. Here’s the deal:

    – You need online traction to convince labels, managers, agents and publishers to work with you.
    – To build that traction you need to independently release music.
    – Once you’re doing that, you should pitch your best material to labels concurrently.
    – However, good labels will not want to release music that’s already been publicized, whether by yourself or another label.
    – Therefore you need to make A LOT of music so that you can self-release some of it and pitch the best of it to labels. If the labels don’t bite in time (set deadlines for them), then self-release.
    – Rinse & repeat.

  • Reddit is a harsh environment because of the anonymity of most users. Most of the time, the sheer reach will lead to you receiving both love and hate. In my experience, the best response to the hate has been sheer and honest transparency. If you can make a solid counter-argument, do so. If not, just don’t respond.

  • prajwal

    Hey Budi, Thanks for this website and your material, really an eye opener for anyone trying to get into industry, getting record label deal is no longer a priority, i would say before young producers approach record labels, they need to have a great fan base, awesome music, so this serves as a foundation to artists who want to grow in the scene, nothing is over night success and producers chasing record labels deals are not in right mindset to understand how music industry works now, i would say to new artists that make music everyday, learn and get better at producing skills, stay away from cookie cutter EDM/dance style, innovate the way you write music, world needs new sounds, so don’t follow similar genre, build your artist fan base organically, don’t spam social media outlets, if record label deal is what an individual artist wants, show them the traction of your artist success while you were an indie artist, so your proving your worth there.

    Tip: Those who are starting out as EDM/Dance music producer the only thing sets an artist apart is your skills in production and quality of music, don’t get carried away by hype , i wont help in any way, hype should be in the form of your music, not branding or marketing. (i am sure we are seeing lot of indie artists making their mark in the industry with fantastic music and all this without 0 hype.)

    Budi i have been managing a young producer in India with my understanding of EDM industry, hope the above points are right.

    Thanks for all the hard work of yours, i am eager to learn more and more.

  • Samuel Campbell

    should i copyright music before i send it out?

  • Jordan Ruzic

    Thank you so much for this much appreciated with all the great work you guys are doing to help people out!

  • Christina Green

    Hi, Budi. I keep reading this to understand a little bit more. Now I’m getting serious with digital distribution and trying to pick the best company. So practically tune core gets our lives fixed with the whole Songwriter Service package but I’m not a 100% sure of it. So in your experience what would you think that might be better? To get started with this fully reloaded service or maybe put all the options on the table to separate the licenses depending on whats better for myself as an independent artist. Thank you so much!

  • Lino Hermesh

    Thanks Budi,
    In-sighting as always. 1 question that comes to me is – does the Youtube Taste Makers arena is mainly only for EDM music? Or is there is as well a similar top 30 taste makers for singer-songwriters music? folk or indie music? etc…. And if they are exist, how to find them?
    The same I wish to ask about SoundCloud… Who are the none EDM gate keepers there?
    Thank you so much, Lino.

  • You’re welcome @jordanruzic:disqus.

  • The music promotional trend has grown hand in hand with electronic music and is branching out to hip-hop, indie, singer-songwriter and pop over time. There’s certainly less of those channels than there are those oriented on EDM however you could surely find them with looking.

  • Josh

    hi @budivoogt:disqus , not sure if I’m dumb but I can’t see the buttons you’re talking about? I don’t see the list anywhere. Thanks!

  • neosoundstv

    Interesting article, thanks for sharing, we are a new music channel that has just started recently in the last month, does anyone know any good places to market a promo music channel online? We have the obvious social media platforms but are looking to find other more effective ways of reaching music listeners. We find it very easy to find bands who are willing to be featured but less so to be able to find the listeners to help build our online community. Any advice would be really appreciated. We are also always accepting submissions for our ‘Bands of The Week’ feature, our channel is mainly Indie/Rock/Alt/Pop orientated. Here is a link for anyone who may wish to be featured: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdPUkM7c59ZXjqLfXNQVITw

  • neosoundstv
  • neosoundstv

    Hey Crystal, we have only just started out as a music channel in the last month but all of our features are either submissions from bands themselves or we have emailed the artists directly to ask for permission when featuring the song. We would never feature any songs without the permission of the artist themselves as we are operated by musicians and understand the importance of an artist’s creative rights. We are not yet monetized, we hope to gain a following first before considering asking any musicians to allow us full monetization rights. Hope this helps with your question.

  • neosoundstv

    Hey Jonathan, I am aware that this is a few months old but if you are looking to submit to any Indie/Pop/Rock channels, we are always looking for new bands to feature. We are a new channel working on a following but we like to help support new music, where we can. You can check us out here:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdPUkM7c59ZXjqLfXNQVITw

    Thanks!

  • Erik

    Hey Budi, so I’ve been wanting to ask independent artists for permission to post their music on my channel. Is there any website that allows me to know how to format a request like that? If not, what is the general format to request to post a song?

  • You’ll need to create a permission agreement that gives you the basic commercial rights required to upload and monetize their music on your specified social channels. This agreement needs to be signed off by the rightsholder of the master, which is usually the record label.

    I cannot provide a template, but would be happy to introduce you to a lawyer who could help you out. Email [email protected] and tell him I sent you.

  • Flow DiMaggio

    Never even thought about this, another tool to implement. I’m sure it’s harder finding out who runs YT channels though.

  • Tobi riki

    where’s the link for the 30 youtube channels I cannot find on this page

  • Josh, sorry about the delay on this but with our site migration somethings got lost in the shuffle. Should be in there now!

  • Hey Tobi, it should be fixed now!

  • The best way to find that is via Facebook, most people will have it displayed as ‘working at x YouTube blog.’ More on that in our ‘how to pitch’ people article, but I’d be wary about jumping straight to Facebook Messenger for pitching, but if you want to know who works where, Facebook is your best bet. http://budivoogt.com/mastering-music-pr-getting-music-blogs-hype-machine/

  • Skyla J

    Thank you for all this info. I will definitely follow all the guidelines you’ve suggested for my upcoming release. You really helped answer a lot of my questions.