This year, YouTube gradually introduced its Official Artist Channel (OAC) program in an effort to consolidate an artist’s entire body of work into a single channel. An Official Artist Channel merges the artist’s existing owned and operated, Topic, and artist-nameVEVO YouTube channels into a single channel destination with an upgraded layout, using the artist’s owned and operated YouTube channel URL. These channels can be identified on YouTube by a music note icon next to the channel’s display name.
What does this mean for artists and labels?
An OAC organizes your content automatically. It’s a YouTube-created channel, and there are some elements that are built into the format in order to achieve this. The channel has separate sections for Official Music Videos and Albums, which cannot be edited by the channel owner. The channel owner can, however, control what a user sees first at the top of the channel page: a trailer and an artist-curated playlist.
By consolidating content from multiple sources under one official channel, YouTube has made it much easier for users to find their favorite artist’s official content. The artist’s OAC and discography are clearly displayed on the right hand side of the screen when a user searches for the artist’s name. This means no more confusion caused by videos scattered across multiple channels. To take advantage of this and optimize the channel for user searches, make sure that your logged-in channel name is in the exact format fans are familiar with.
YouTube is merging the subscribers of Official Artist Channels with other related channels, such as Topic Channels and artist-created channels. Subscribers to any one channel related to an artist will now receive updates on the artist’s whole catalog. Not only will subscriber counts increase for the OAC, but views and watch time will also be aggregated.
What does this mean for users?
Users will benefit from these changes as well, as YouTube’s Official Blog explains. One of YouTube’s strengths for music fans is the variety of content available on the platform: one can find not only official music videos, lyric videos and Art Tracks, but also live performances, covers, and non-music content, such as interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. Users’ favorite artists are now easier to find through search, and users previously subscribed to any of the artist’s channels will see a more holistic view of that artist’s YouTube content.
Artists, labels, and managers can prepare by making sure they’re eligible for an Official Artist Channel. To be eligible, you will need a YouTube channel that’s owned and operated directly (by an artist, manager, or label) and at least 3 music videos on YouTube.
OACs are merged by request only at this time. This process can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to complete and is subject to artist metrics other priorities.
Check out a demonstration from YouTube below: