In March, 2017, a collection of videos surrounding Ed Sheeran’s third album “Divide” topped more than 1 billion views on YouTube as well as setting similar records on Spotify. Analyzing his success, 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 marketing and work. Learning from other artists is a key part in understanding the marketplace and how to use the same resources to achieve success.

Putting out Multiple Videos for your Album Release

To begin, these views for Ed Sheeran’s album “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 released.

In promoting your album, some artists might see putting out a video per song as ‘giving away the album for free’. This is a fair point. 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. It can help to generate interest in an album release, be used to promote an album internationally, and can help to give your audience something new to grasp onto in the weeks up to a record release.

Getting People to Know where to Look for your Video Content

Part of Ed Sheeran’s success in this regard is about people knowing that these videos existed. So how does one generate the same interest? It can be difficult as an artist that is still development. It is highly recommended to develop some form of a professional music video for your first single. This can be a part-performance video or something more artistic. Having a professionally done music video however will signify to art critics, blog writers, and music listeners that you are serious about what you do. After you have produced this video and have some teaser clips in the can, three words – promote, promote, and promote. Tweet, share, and post, and get the word out about your upcoming video release.

Making Lyric Videos and Getting your Audience Engaged

Sheeran 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 stuff.

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.

Also, professionally filmed videos are expensive. 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. 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.