How I Grew My YouTube Channel’s Subscribers From Zero to 5,000

[Editors Note: This article is written by Nate Maingard. Nate is a modern troubadour and live-streamer. He’s been on the music scene since 1998 and right now he is in the top 50 musicians on Patreon. He is a guest lecturer at SAE, Ovation Award Winner and Gold VIP live-streamer on Periscope. This article is part of our collaboration with – a platform providing answers to questions from music industry professionals.]


This may not be what you expect. I’m no YouTube superstar, with millions of views and professionally produced content. I’m just a simple human sharing the things I love…and I’ve been blessed to come to know a wonderful online community of people who enjoy what I share. And so, here’s how I grew my YouTube subscribers from 0 to 5,000!

Be Consistent

It took me a long time to learn this simple lesson, but the truth is that every single successful person I’ve heard talk about success says the same thing: BE CONSISTENT!

Just. Keep. Creating.

One of the ways I do this is to release a new video on the same day every week. I’ll be the first to admit I still don’t get this right a lot of the time, but when I get in the flow of it, this brings me so much stability, and is great for my subscribers too!

Consistency also helps me with ‘imposter syndrome,’ or, the feeling that I’m a fake and should just give up because I don’t really matter and my art sucks anyway, (not sure if you ever feel that, many artists do).

Anyway, creating on a regular timeline means I’m generally too focused on what I’m doing next to worry about whether or not people are going to love what I’ve already done! It keeps me passionate, forward-looking and motivated – which are great alternatives to ‘depressed in bed binge watching Netflix while I think about how much more I should be doing with my life’.

Every Person Matters

Social media has a tendency to get us so focused on the big numbers: how many million subs, watches, likes, comments, etc. – but you’ve got to remember that each interaction is coming from a real, unique, beautiful human being! Someone has taken time out of their own busy, complex existence to connect with your creations. This is HUGE!

I do my best to respond to every single comment with thoughtfulness and gratitude. I thank people for sharing my creations on Twitter when they tag me. I respond to emails from people who have been positively impacted by my art. I message every new patron to give a personal ‘Welcome’. Yes, these things take a lot of time and YES IT IS WORTH IT!

We are all individuals, we all want to be seen and heard. Be grateful to those who take the time to connect with your work, and they will reward you by sharing more of their precious presence with you.

Make Beautiful Things

I don’t know what beauty is to you, and I’m not here to tell you what it should be.

All I know is that the world needs more people sharing their perceptions of beauty with the world. The most important thing is that you create what you believe in, what you are passionate about, what makes your heart race and your eyes light up. THAT is what I want to know about from you!

If you are authentic about what you share, that will resonate with other people like you out there in the world. These are the people who will become your tribe, your foundation, your support.

Be prepared to suck when you begin, everyone does. There’s an amazing talk by Ira Glass about this, I highly recommend you watch it.

Ask For Support

How do people know how to help you if you don’t tell them?

Be sure to ask your audience to subscribe, to comment, to share!

Ask for their opinions, and listen to their responses. Make them a part of your journey from the beginning and you won’t have to do it alone, you’ll have a whole community of collaborators excited to be a part of your journey!

These are the people who will celebrate your successes, and support you in your failures. All it requires is for you to be open, honest and authentic with them.

In Closing

Be consistent, treat people with care, make beautiful things and ask for support!

These are the approaches and attitudes I have found to serve me in my own journey, and I’d love to hear if they help you on yours in the comment section.

Wishing you well on the road, and I look forward to seeing what your heart brings into this world.

Wednesday Video Diversion: February 1, 2017

Aaaaaand February is suddenly upon us. Looking beyond the still-groggy-start to a new year and crummy cold weather, we’re pleased to drop a great new line-up of music videos featuring a bunch of awesome TuneCore Artists! So join us in our weekly ritual of internet distraction and wonderful music and visuals:

Loose Buttons, “Thrill”

Ryan Upchurch, “Outlaw”

Jacquelyn Schreiber, “Beautiful Love”

Ellie Holcomb, “Find You Here”

Cocovan, “Summer Nights”

Sheer Mag, “Nobody’s Baby”

Transit, “We Don’t Say It Anymore (feat. Jocelyn Alice)”

SiR, “W$ Boi”

Queue, “More”

Wednesday Video Diversion: October 26, 2016

It’s Wednesday afternoon. You’re bored and about to lose focus on everything you’ve been working on all day. We trust you’ll snap back into it, but in the meantime, enjoy a pleasant round-up of TuneCore Artist music videos!

VYCES, “Devil”

Pussy Riot, “Straight Outta Vagina (feat. Demi Mo & Leikeli47)

Jonathan Hoyle, “Know It’s You”

About A Mile, “Taking Back”

Caroline Boole, “Undefeated”

Thrown Into Exile, “No Words”

Theocracy, “Ghost Ship”

Taylor Davis, “Wilderness”

Pink Fireball, “Turn Around”

This Little Badge, “Next”

TYuS, “My Way”

Ayo Jay, “Gimme Kiss”

A House For Lions: Raising Money Their Own Way

Bands and artists are finding continued success with fan-funded platforms like Kickstarter and PledgeMusic.  When indie rock band A House For Lions  was looking into the different crowdfunding platforms available to help raise money for their debut album, they found another option.  Mike Nissen, the band’s guitar player (and designer), did a little digging to find out if a WordPress plugin existed to help with their approaching campaign. Sure enough, he found Ignitiondeck, a WordPress plugin that lets you to implement a crowdfunding campaign without any fees (except the cost of the plugin itself and small PayPal transaction fees) or middlemen.

The band carefully considered their options, as they acknowledged that using a well-known platform like Kickstarter might result in getting a few more eyes on their project. But at the same time, as they explained, “We realized that we might just be white noise in those other platforms, just another band trying to raise funds for their album.”

One of the plugin’s selling points for the band was that it wasn’t an “all or nothing” model;  “If we come very close to our goal but aren’t fully funded we will still get to make the album no matter what so that our backers will get what they are pledging to help make.”

Any good campaign requires a solid kickoff.  “We wanted to make an intro video that pokes fun at the idea of hitting people up for money, because we realize that it’s a bit of a ludicrous thing to do,” they explained.  So they did just that.  Their launch video shows the band interviewing several precocious children, asking them if they might be willing to spare some money and donate to the campaign. Definitely worth watching.

Also vital to any crowdfunded campaign is that the artist keeps fans interested throughout.  A House For Lions is tackling this by releasing silly outtakes from the launch video and extended cuts from their interviews with kids.  They’re also churning out creative rewards, including t-shirts and posters designed by Nissen. With 9 days to go, A House For Lions has received 54% of their goal.

At TuneCore we always encourage artists to be their own labels.  In the new music industry, artists have all of the resources, and bands like A House For Lions are proving just that.

Check Out the “A House For Lions” Campaign

Learn More About The Band



How To Start: An Interview With John Strohm

By George Howard
(Follow George on Twitter)

Where to start? When to start? How to start? These are the questions that come up so often. The questions raised by anyone who feels his or her music should be heard, but is unsure of the appropriate next steps.

I recently had the opportunity to interview my good friend John Strohm. John is uniquely qualified to speak to the above questions.  Sure, John is now a successful entertainment attorney— representing, among others, Grammy winners Bon Iver, and one of the most successful independent (and by that I mean their own label, distro through TuneCore) artists of all time, The Civil Wars—but long before John became a man of law, he too was an independent artist working his way through the same issues and opportunities that you may be.

While attending Berklee College of Music, John started a band called The Blake Babies with fellow Berklee students Juliana Hatfield and Freda Love.  The Blake Babies, through great songwriting and hard work, propelled themselves from the Berklee practice rooms to the national stage. John then went on to play guitar for The Lemonheads.  In short, he knows of what he speaks.

In this interview John focuses on actionable things artists can and should be doing to propel their careers forward.  What is resounding is the importance of being remarkable.  This is a theme I write about time and time again. If you pull the word “remarkable” apart you note that at its root is “remark;”people must “talk” about your work.

Of course, in order for that to happen, you must get your music out there.  TuneCore, of course, facilitates this, and I’ve written a lot about the importance of using the Lean Startup methodology of creating a “minimum viable product” to get a sense of what the market thinks of your work; again, TuneCore makes this process an incredibly efficient one.

So, balance John’s words of wisdom regarding making sure that your work is remarkable with the incredible ease of getting feedback via creating a minimum viable product, and distributing via TuneCore to constantly improve.

Take heed also regarding John’s advice when it comes to who you work with.  His thoughts here mirror many of the ideas I’ve discussed in articles like “Strengthen Your Core.”  It’s about alignment of values and expectations.  Of course, you can’t align your values with anyone else’s until you clearly know what your own values are.  This comes back to getting started.

There’s magic in motion. Moving your songs and ideas and aesthetic (values) from your brain/bedroom to a more tangible place—distro via TuneCore/playing shows—are necessary steps in understanding your values, becoming remarkable, and, generally, moving forward in your career in a manner that shows you have a plan, a vision, and a direction.

Watch this space for continued conversation with John. He’s got a lot more wisdom to share, and we’ll discuss things like when it’s time to get a lawyer, key legal details that every band should understand, and more.


George Howard is the Executive Vice President of Wolfgang’s Vault. Wolfgang’s Vault is the parent company of Concert Vault, Paste Magazine, and Daytrotter. Mr. Howard is an Associate Professor of Management at Berklee College of Music

DIY Comedy Musicians: The Midnight Beast

The Midnight Beast, a comedy music trio from London, is taking social media by storm. Since their YouTube parody of Ke$ha’s popular “Tik Tok” went viral in 2009, the group’s YouTube subscribers and video views continue to rise quickly. Read on as The Midnight Beast (Stefan Abingdon, Dru Wakely and Ashley Horne) discuss their self-titled comedy series airing now on E4, their thoughts on being  a DIY band, and their advice for other independent artists.

Without using “conventional” genre words, describe your sound.
Dirty electro pop fused with lyrical silliness I guess.

Since your parody of Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” went viral in 2009, you’ve generated an incredible YouTube following, with over 300,000 subscribers and over 51 million video views.  To what do you attribute the success of the growth of this social channel?
I definitely think that all social networks are changing the way artists interact with  fans and it’s really helping gain exposure for newcomers. For us, YouTube in particular at first was vital to our growth. It’s funny because we didn’t really plan the Tik Tok parody to go so viral but with the power of the interweb it just got passed around so quickly. I think if YouTube didn’t exist we would definitely wouldn’t have had the same amount of exposure.

Congrats on your self-titled comedy series for E4!  How did the show come about? Were you approached? Did you pitch the idea?
Thanks! Well it was actually our agents/managers Rachel and Cathy Mason who first put the idea to us quite early on. They knew some of the good folks over at channel 4 so we got to have some meetings and start talking, which was awesome. Then a bit later down the line we met Warp Films too, which is where the journey of our show started.

How does your music fit into the show?
So we have 2-3 music videos in each episode of the show and they each kick in at different points, kinda taking the viewers by surprise. We definitely wanted the videos to just jump straight out of a scene and kick in so they kinda help compliment a particular scene that you just watched.

How does your writing process work? Do all band members contribute?
Writing the songs happens in numerous different ways. We certainly all get involved but usually Stefan will take the main reigns as the songwriter. He’ll sometimes come up with the skeleton of the song and Ash and I will jump on to help funny it up, or sometimes Stef and I will work on a beat musically together and then we’ll all hook up and write to it. It’s a pretty exciting process as sometimes one of us will even just come up with a subject matter, like ‘Strategy Wanking!’

Do you ever incorporate ad-libbing or improv into your music?
Our stuff tends to be quite structured when it comes to writing and recording music. Perhaps with more of the rappy/hiphoppy styled tracks we tend to do a few takes ad-libbing under the main vocals but that’s as far its goes improv-wise. For live shows we also tend to keep it quite structured, but we’ll at least leave room or map out in rehearsals where one of us can go on tangent.

You’ve got a big tour coming up in October.  Do you incorporate non-musical elements into your live shows?
I think we pride ourselves on making the live shows very upbeat and full of energy for fans. We have a very responsive fan base so we like to keep them jumping around, and as each tour has grown, we’ve incorporated new musical elements and visuals. I think it’s harder for us to dip the show to a point of no music, but, with that being said, we do like to take a “quiet” minute in between songs to say hi to each city.

You seem like a very hands-on band; you release music from your own record label, and you’ve written and produced music from your bedrooms. Would you recommend this DIY-type style to other artists?
Definitely! We would never come out and say that this is the best and only way people should do it, but we have found it best suits us. I think it’s so nice to not have to fit any kind of label moulds and work to a particular structure like some artists do. Acts like that usually have to depend on certain chart positions for singles and albums, and it’s just nice not to worry about all that. We’ve always said if we got in the charts then awesome but that’s not our aim at all.

What advice would you give other independent artists?
I think just to stay strong with it and persevere. Know what you want and what you want to do and don’t let people change who your are or what your band/act is. Definitely don’t feel you have to fit a mould!

What can fans look forward to next? Another season of your show?
Another season? Who knows! Things are definitely in the pipeline and you can certainly expect some more videos coming at you! Right now though we’re just working on getting ready for our October tour ‘I Kicked A Tour In The Face Tour,’ and also putting the album out.

Download Music from The Midnight Beast on iTunes

View The Midnight Beast on YouTube