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What you need to know about recording music for YouTube

If you look at popular singers such as Justin Bieber, it's hard not to dream a little about becoming successful via YouTube. The internet isn't just a space for budding pop stars, though, but talent from all genres. Lindsey Stirling, for example, is a violinist with an immense following: Over 7 million YouTube subscribers and over 1 billion video views.

So if think you could be the next big musical online sensation, how can you get your songs from your bedroom to the world? With these sound recording and internet video tips.

The right sound recording equipment

Even if you have a cool DSLR camera to shoot you performing, its internal microphone will be a poor choice for recording quality audio. You will need a separate, affordable studio mic to capture a better product.

Adam Rafferty, a YouTube guitarist with over 13 million views, recommends utilising a good condenser microphone. There is a wide range of this type of recording device available, though we suggest something from the RØDE studio microphone range. The RØDE NT1 would suit if you are already a professional musician and are looking for something incredibly dynamic, though the NT2000 and NTK are also smart options.

To record your instrument, rather than plug it straight into your digital audio recorder, consider purchasing a preamp to use as a go-between. This can add a level of warmth to the sound, which may be lost if you plug straight into your computer.

As for your software, something free such as Audacity is popular for newcomers, though Adobe's Creative Cloud series of products - which includes Adobe Audition and Premiere Pro - are very affordable these days.

Best filming practice 

It's advisable that you find a quiet space somewhere out of the way of any potential intrusive noise - such as family members cooking, or flat mates chatting - in order to shoot the cleanest possible sound and video.

If your room or home studio has very shiny surfaces in it, this may also be a problem. Walls, floors and other large, flat surfaces reflect audio, and could give your vocals an echo that you could otherwise avoid. Consider recording in a room that has a thick carpet and plenty of furniture. You may also wish to invest in bass traps and acoustic panels, porous materials that can be mounted to the walls to absorb certain frequencies. 

Walls, floors and other large, flat surfaces reflect audio, and could give your vocals an echo that you could otherwise avoid.

Make sure there is enough light in the room for the audience to clearly see you without too many harsh shadows, and that you have white balanced the colour of the picture. Most cameras have this as an automatic feature, though DSLR cameras such as the Canon range offer you presets instead. Hold a white card up to your camera and flick through the settings until you find the right one.

Ultimately, though, it's the music that is important, so you can afford to cut costs on the video so long as your voice and music recording equipment is sorted.

Uploading and sharing

YouTube can upload video files in eight different formats, which include the commonly used MP4, AVI, MOV and WMV file types. When your clip is uploaded and you are sitting on the video details screen, it's best to fill these out as much as possible.

Inputting keywords and tags can help people search for your video among all the competition. Use a tool such as Google Trends to find keywords that are trending and relevant to you, then write down whichever you think will work best.

Search Engine Watch also recommends adding a call to action at the end of your video, such as a giant 'Subscribe' button, or a clip of you thanking your audience for watching, and asking for them to like, share, comment or subscribe.