Crack the YouTube Cover Market – Five Tips

Jake Coco is head of Keep Your Soul Records, a production company which has produced over 700 masters and boasts 400 million collective views on YouTube. Read his top five tips.

Be fast with new covers

Put up your cover of a new song the same day it comes out, or the day after. “Being low budget is great because you can get your song done the same day,” says Coco, “It doesn’t take long to learn a pop song.” Being fast will increase your SEO (search engine optimization) power, he says. If you are one of the only people who has a video with a certain new song title, YouTube will display your video any time someone searches for that song title in the recommended videos area. “Advertisers pay a lot for those spaces,” says Coco, “but you can get there for free just by being first.”

Be consistent

Put up a video every week and stay with it. Coco explains that YouTube algorithms are constantly changing, but in general, they will favor people who are putting out good content consistently. For example, the algorithms look at Like-Dislike ratio, time spent watching, and click conversions. “When I started, I was just doing it for myself,” says Coco, “and trying to stay on top of the new songs as they came out. Now I have a bigger following, it’s not as crucial to post every week as it was in the beginning.”

Build your team

“Find someone to work with that fills in your weaknesses,” Coco says, “If you have a decent microphone and a crappy camera, find a friend with a good camera and try to work out a deal.” You see, working with a small team with the right skills means you can do things in-house (without having to pay) and you can be highly flexible. In fact, Coco says, “There is no reason you can’t find a team of people who maybe aren’t achieving their full potential yet, and help them rise with you.” Even the biggest YouTube companies with their “digital audio department” and “digital video department” started as a guy with mic and a guy with a camera.

Check out this early video by Jake from about 7 years ago. He didn’t have lots of fancy equipment in this video. Yes, he had a few bits of gear including a nice microphone, but no fancy lighting, and he uses a pill bottle as a shaker!

Monetize your covers

Expensive “sync” licenses are required for anyone who wants to make a video that uses a song owned by a big publisher – but times are changing. “Publishers saw a movement happening [with YouTube], and they wanted to be a part of that,” says Coco. As a result, third party companies like have developed a relationship with all the big publishers that lets all three parties share the ad revenue on your video: YouTube, the publisher and you.

Use strategic partnerships to manage your revenue

A CMS (Content Management System) is an analytical tool that identifies your songs and provides data on how and when and where they are being used. YouTube provided a CMS to creators in the past, but no longer does. Many artists will partner with a third-party company which provides a CMS. “If you put up a video of your dog playing in the park, and you put my song behind it, I will get notified,” says Coco. The CMS offers data that will help you grow. It can tell you how long people in Boise Idaho who are 17 years old decide to watch your video, for example. You can quickly see what people like and what they don’t like and use that to help you learn.

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