The Ed Sheeran YouTube channel has more than 53 million subscribers and some 330+ videos. Every day, he generates another 8.7 million views on average.
On par with the best YouTube channels on the platform, Ed Sheeran dominates arguably more than any other artist.
Analyzing the success of Ed Sheeran, several things become clear. There is a lot to learn here for rising artists and how they may be able to apply what has worked for Ed Sheeran to their own YouTube music marketing.
Learning from other artists is a key part of understanding the marketplace and how to use the same resources to achieve success.
Ed Sheeran YouTube Facts, Figures & Statistics
There are several Ed Sheeran YouTube facts that one can look to that demonstrate how wide an impact he has.
His YouTube channel carries over 27 billion views total. He has multiple videos with over 1 billion views each.
In March 2017, a collection of videos surrounding Ed Sheeran’s third album “Divide” topped more than 1 billion views on YouTube through those videos alone as well as set similar records in Spotify revenues.
Then, in 2021, YouTube and Ed Sheeran partnered to host exclusive previews of his “Equals” albums. Under #SheeranShorts, he dropped 14 new tracks ahead of their official release. This proves that he’s not only an artist but an influencer as well.
He remains one of YouTube’s top 10 most-subscribed to artists on YouTube.
The average musical artist may not want to become a YouTube influencer but they want their music to be heard.
In an era where there are so many music industry problems and obstacles you have to overcome in order to be successful, YouTube is a free social platform that has the potential to gain you millions of views in months, weeks, or even days with the right video. Here are some of the marketing strategies Ed Sheeran utilizes.
Releasing Multiple Videos For Your Album: A Video For Every Song, Lyric Videos & More
To really analyze the impact of Ed Sheeran’s YouTube marketing effects, we have to go back to his “Divide” album.
The views for Ed Sheeran’s “Divide” are spread across sixteen videos – a total of 14 lyric videos and two videos for his singles “Castle on a Hill” and “Shape of You”. The two singles were released two months before the album and on the day of the album release, the remaining 14 lyric videos were simultaneously dropped.
This follows a traditional model of music releases for most articles. Release a single or two to get exposure in the culture and let people know you’re there. Then, drop the album within 3-4 months of the most recent single release.
What’s new in the current model among artists who put out a video for every song on their record is that what they’re doing is essentially giving away the album for free on YouTube. This fits the Spotify model as well. In fact, it’s the entire streaming model. The music is free and artists have to find a way to monetize the exposure more or less on their own.
In promoting an album, some artists might see putting out a video per song as ‘giving away the album for free’.
Putting out multiple videos – including a minimum of one lyric video, a full creative music video, and potentially teaser clips – can make a difference though.
You don’t have to do a full album’s worth of videos, however, a combination of video types can help to generate interest in an album release, be used to promote an album internationally, and help to give your audience something to grasp on to in the weeks leading into a record release.
People Know Where To Look For Music, Content, & Music Videos
Part of Ed Sheeran’s success in this regard is about people knowing that these videos existed. They know where to look.
So how does an independent artist or indie record label generate the same interest in their music?
It can be difficult for an artist that is still development. It is highly recommended to develop some form of a professional music video for a first single from an unknown artist. This can be a part-performance video or something more artistic.
Having a professionally done music video will signify to art critics, blog writers, and music listeners that you are serious about what you do. It helps to legitimize your content and assigns you authority. After you have produced this video and have some teaser clips in the can, it’s all about promote, promote, and promote. Post and share.
Instead of posting the video to multiple platforms, when you can, direct fans back to YouTube.
A YouTube video can be embedded fairly easily into any site. In addition to its ease of use, you get access to all the analytical data that Google automatically generates around a video, allowing you to see who’s watching and listening.
Lyric Videos Can Help Your Audience Engage With You And Expresses Creativity
Lyric videos are an underrated form of digital music marketing.
Listeners want to know what your song is about. Enter in a lyric video, with high-quality graphics and imagery.
Ed Sheeran has many additional advantages. He has a highly passionate young audience who consistently creates user-generated content in the form of cover videos and various viral videos associated with his name.
This all complements his collection of lyric videos, art tracks, live videos, and professionally filmed music videos as well. Every time, he gives the audience something different. It’s not all live videos or all professionally-filmed content.
As an emerging artist, don’t be afraid to get creative and to produce different kinds of videos building towards an album release. Taking the time to make a lyric video can help to get your song out there to an audience who may not otherwise have the chance to hear it.
Having at least one professionally filmed video is excellent but there is no need to produce one for every song if the budget is not there. For most musical artists, they don’t have the money and that’s understandable!
A mix of professionally filmed content, lyric videos, and teasers should be more than enough to light a fire under an album release and to get your audience talking, shared on YouTube and embedded properly across your artist pages.