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030esar0303: How to create a successful YouTube channel

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030esar0303 successful youtube channel imusician

Lucas (DJing as ‘Lucas Eb) is a label owner, marketing and PR manager at iMusician, and the proud owner of his own YouTube channel, 030esar0303, where he features the latest tracks from the electronic music scene. 030esar0303 has over fifty thousand subscribers today, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that we went knocking at his door to ask him a few questions about music curation, pitching, and his very own YouTube channel strategy, to help independent musicians like you build their career on the platform.

Hey Lucas! Thanks for taking the time to share your story and tips about building a successful YouTube channel with us and our readers. The first question that came to my mind – and that I’m sure a lot of people wonder the same – why did you choose the name 030esar0303?

Indeed, it’s a super weird name! The origin of the name “ESAR” has something to do with my graffiti background. The number “030” at the beginning and at the end is the telephone code for Berlin and refers to the city where I was born and raised. The “3” at the very end of the channel’s name I simply added because it is already my third YouTube channel. The previous two channels got banned by YouTube.

You launched your channel in November 2011. Today, you have more than 900 videos uploaded. How did it all start?

It all started with uploading vinyl rips from my personal record collection. I just had (and still have) fun digging for new records. Whenever I found something great, I would just upload it to my channel and simply added the records’ artworks as a static image. I had no authorization, license or approval from the copyright holders, which was pretty naive when I’m looking back at it, but it was what we did back in the day when Spotify hadn’t really been a thing yet. After a while, especially with the growing number of subscribers, most of the artists started seeing my channel as a free marketing tool and let me get away with it. Especially in the beginning, some artists flagged a complaint of course and that’s when I lost my two previous channels due to copyright strikes.

Today, most of my uploads are official “premieres” which I’m also crossposting on my SoundCloud page. For those uploads, the labels & artists are contacting me for promotional purposes to get featured on my channel before their actual release date.

How do you choose the content that you feature on your channel? Is it just personal taste, do you take everything that you like or is there a specific genre on which you focus on your channel?

030esar0303 youtube channel screenshot

030esar0303 YouTube's channel

The thing that matters most of course is my personal taste. I wouldn’t upload a track that I don’t like only to get more clicks on my channel.

From sample-based jazzy deep house, breakbeats and jungle, to progressive trance cuts and electro – you can find a wide variety of styles on my channel, mostly, however, in the area of house music.

How did you get to the more than 50,000 subscribers that you have today?

I guess there are a few people out there who share my musical taste, haha! I am very overwhelmed when I think about those numbers though.

Another reason for the success is that some of my videos got pushed by the algorithm a lot I think, and that’s why more people came across the channel and subscribed. The more views your videos have the higher the chance that people will subscribe to your channel.

On top of that, YouTube is still one of the best platforms for finding new music in my opinion. Not only because tracks are regularly published on YouTube before their official release date, but also because you can find vinyl-only releases on there – tracks that won’t ever be uploaded to streaming platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music.

I think that many people see this as a unique YouTube feature, and channels that publish exclusive premieres are getting more and more attention.

The most popular video you’ve hosted is “Unknown Artist – You Got The Funk”. The video has 4.8 million views and I have to say, it’s a catchy tune! It’s not an unknown artist anymore, but it’s a track by Leo Pol. What’s your relationship with him? Was he happy to see his track performing that well on YouTube.

True, the artist is not “unknown” as stated in the video title. But this strategy worked out quite well for Leo Pol, his label ‘Uniile’, and also for the performance of the video itself. The reason for the skyrocketing number of views is that people were engaging a lot: They were discussing and wondering about who that mysterious artist might be. There are thousands of comments such as “Uniile is the artist!” and responses such as “No, Uniile is the label, Leo Pol is the artist!”. Thanks to the engagement, YouTube’s algorithm started recommending the video to a bigger audience and one thing came to another.

I wasn’t in contact with Leo Pol directly but with a label representing him. Obviously, they were happy about the performance, and kept asking me to add links to newer releases in the description of the video. 4.8 million views are quite a good number for a nichey genre like that.

I can see you’ve created some playlists, categorized by genre and subgenres, where you collect videos from other YouTube channels. Are playlists important on YouTube and for your channel? Apart from premieres, what other content do you publish on your channel?

Yes, playlists are quite important on YouTube. I can see that many views on my videos are coming from playlist plays. So, when your videos/uploads are added to users' playlists it can help a lot.

The main reason I’ve created playlists by genre/subgenre was for my personal use. However, I set them to public to give my audience another possibility to dig deeper into the different styles of music that I’m into.

Besides uploading exclusive track premieres on my channel I’m also experimenting with different video formats. In the beginning of Covid-19 for example, I collaborated with HÖR Berlin where I had a residency and a couple of showcases. I invited friends to come along and play a set. Everything was live-streamed on YouTube and crossposted to my channel.

I’ve launched a category called “Selection” recently, where I upload hours of personally curated music from specific genres. I want those to be considered tiny, genre-specific excerpts, which are hopefully inspiring DJs and other music lovers. The first episode is a tribute to 90s Jungle, Drum & Bass music:

Selections 030esar0303

Secltions of 030esar0303

You also run your own label CLIFF MUSIC. How is that project going? Can you tell us a little bit more about it?

I started the label CLIFF MUSIC together with my best friend back in 2019. For me, it was a logical next step to start a label, as I know many artists through my channel.

So far we’ve released five different artists on two releases on vinyl and digital. We aim to release music from artists in the house music genre.

Can you give us some advice for our independent artists and labels who want to build a successful YouTube channel?

There are many ways to build a YouTube channel. Some tips I would give are:

Try not to publish just your music on your channel. Think of different content strategies to reach a wider audience around the people who already know your music/label.

It’s all about getting watchtime with your videos (of course several other factors play a role as well, such as engagement, likes, comments, etc.) YouTube recognizes if people stay and “watch” videos. Subsequently, they recommend those videos to a wider audience & potential new subscribers. To reach that you obviously need an appealing video!

Try and test out different content formats and look at how your audience is responding to those. Ideas: in-studio sessions, Q&As with different artists, tech-talks, live streams, etc.

When your audience sees that you’re posting content regularly they are more likely to subscribe to your channel. Apart from that, the algorithm also likes a certain regularity in activities on your channel!

Try out different publishing time slots for your uploads. Is it better to post your new video on Monday evening than on Tuesday morning?

Where do you see the future of 030esar0303?

I keep doing what I’m doing because it’s fun to work with the music I love. That’s my main focus and it will always be that way, with or without channel.

I want to continue working with all those talented artists and labels, and support them in pushing their releases and careers.

Besides your YouTube channel, you’re a DJ under the name Lucas Eb. Can you tell us a bit more about this project?

The music I’m publishing on my channel is also in part the music I’m playing as a DJ. Pretty early on I got inspired by Berlin’s nightlife, and a little later I started organizing my own (illegal) open-airs and club events with some friends from school under the name Zosse, where I was also playing as a DJ. We still organize parties and I’m also still playing now and then.

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