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Sync In: The Rise Of Youtube Listening Channels

08 Feb 2023

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Youtube isn’t just for music videos anymore. Although, since Gen Z is increasingly used to listening to any music release with visuals involved, it just might become the new norm. Those who grew up with analog listening habits could find the idea of Youtube as a music streaming and discovery platform a little foreign. Still, in some ways, it’s a better option than listening on interfaces like Spotify or Apple Music. Far away from the era when playing a vinyl record meant dropping the needle and flipping the record over, switching on the radio with the hope of hearing a favorite song, or pressing play on a cassette tape, finding channels tailored for specific listening needs on Youtube is a seamless way to curate a personalized listening experience.

Youtube channels never get scratched like CDs, warped like tapes and vinyl, and they deliver exactly the music a listener is looking for with far more precision than the radio. We know internet streaming is more accessible and effective than any of its analog forebearers, but what makes Youtube more appealing than other streaming services? Youtube offers a wider, more diverse, and less formal access point for younger listeners. It includes all kinds of remixes, alternative versions, lyric videos, and fan-created mashups that never make their way to the neat and tidy organization of Spotify or Apple. 

Youtube is a much more social experience, too, which makes it more logical and familiar for generations who grew up with social media as the norm. Getting into a Youtube comment section for more info or sharing an emotional connection with the music offers an interactive element that the more traditional streaming services just don’t have. And with the launch of Youtube Music as a more structured competitor for Spotify and Apple Music, even those who preferred the audio-focused streaming services might eventually make their way over to the video app.

But there’s another draw that brings listeners to Youtube, and it’s something that other competitors can’t seem to replicate no matter how hard they try—and that’s Youtube channels. These channels tend to be geared toward hyper-specific yet passive activities, like studying, relaxation, meditation, and even sleeping. Many lo-fi-focused channels have erupted as the listening style grew more and more popular over the last few years, most of which offer a randomized visualizer in the background as the music plays. Of course, plenty of creators on the platform use their channel for more video-focused content, creating a series or a class that puts them on the map, but for every content creator looking to become a star, there’s a “lo-fi beats for studying” channel that’s only intended for exactly what it sounds like.

Once it became clear that people enjoyed using Youtube channels as their personalized radio stations, an influx of users began to upload music compilations to the platform to make money off the streaming data and plays. But this led to a whole host of people sharing music that wasn’t actually theirs to upload in the first place. In a post-Napster world, plenty of people still seemed to think possession of mp3 files was enough permission to do whatever they wanted with someone else’s songs. So plenty of the popular Youtube listening channels got hit with takedown notices and cease and desist orders since they provided access to music they didn’t own. However, if you are a musician or own the rights to a catalog of music, showcasing it on Youtube can be a good tactic. 

Everything from ambient house music and indie pop to experimental jazz and underground hip-hop is available on Youtube these days. Creating a channel that works for your interests might be as simple as uploading some of your music and setting it to a visualizer. Just make sure that if any part of what you want to share on the channel was created by another artist, that you get the right to use it first. One way to ensure you’ve got all the proper copyrights and licenses for any third-party sounds used is to go through a production music library like APM. 

With countless beats for building up tracks, plenty of vocal effects and other snippets, and a huge amount of songs that can be remixed or spliced within a larger context, APM is a great resource for anyone looking to get into the Youtube channel game. Beyond genre and mood, the catalog also hosts a number of older music libraries that are frequently used for sampling by massive stars, rising artists, and everyone in between. Get into the Youtube game without any fear of takedowns or complaints by sourcing everything from an affordable, accessible library like the one APM Music offers. 

Check out more about APM here.