Premieres bring the magic of live events to music video releases on YouTube

Jan 31, 2019

"In the video-on-demand era - where everything under the sun is available at your fingertips - YouTube Premieres gives us something that we’ve been missing: Tension! That feeling of our favorite artist standing on a stage when the curtain is pulled back and we get to see something we’ve never seen before all at once."

- Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music at YouTube

Since releasing YouTube Premieres in 2018, we’ve been amazed by the ways artists are using the feature to debut content, break new records and directly engage with their fans. With Premieres, artists bring their fans together to watch and discuss their newest music videos in real time. Premieres are radically changing how music video content is released and are turning the viewing experience into an interactive community launch moment.

A new way for artists to promote and hype music content

A key benefit of YouTube Premieres is the ability for artists to create advance buzz and drum up excitement amongst fans. Every Premiere includes a shareable watch page which has a countdown timer to the music video launch. Artists can share the watch page on social media to build anticipation amongst fans who can then gather in one place to watch and experience the Premiere together. Additionally, fans can set in-product reminders for Premieres and subscribers who have notifications enabled will get a heads up ahead of the Premiere start time.

Ariana Grande recently leveraged YouTube Premieres to debut her new music video “thank u, next” which set YouTube records! Ariana and her team planned an extensive content strategy, building up significant buzz ahead of the Premiere by posting links to the countdown page on her YouTube community page and other social media channels.

As the anticipation and audience grew leading up to the big event, her fans set over 150,000 reminders for the Premiere. When the Premiere dropped at 12pm PT, on November 30, there were almost a million fans watching simultaneously at peak and 400,000 chat messages sent in the live chat. The video became the fastest on YouTube to earn 100 million views, reaching the milestone in under four days.

Over 400,000 chat messages were sent during the Premiere of “thank u, next

Driving artist to fan engagement

YouTube Premieres is fundamentally transforming the way fans view and engage with artists and their content. The live chat feature on the watch page lets fans chat before and during the video which builds excitement and allows everyone to experience content in an interactive way.

In September, 2018, Shawn Mendes released his Artist Spotlight Story, “SHAWN MENDES” using YouTube Premieres and took advantage of live chat to increase fan engagement. Ahead of the Premiere, fans from around the world gathered together to countdown and virtually experience the film together with Shawn who actively participated in the live chat. He answered questions and shared in the pre-Premiere fan excitement with his fans.

Boosting viewership of new music video releases

The initial performance of a music video release is critical to artists and their teams and YouTube Premieres provides a way to drive higher viewership of content. When artists leverage YouTube Premieres, the content is more likely to garner higher views compared to a normal video upload on YouTube.

The power of promoting a Premiere in advance of its release combined with the ability for fans to engage with the video through comments and live chat before the video is live, helps create more engagement and viewership.

YouTube Premieres helped make Halsey's recent music video “Without Me” one of her biggest video debuts in viewership over the first 24hrs.

What’s next for Premieres?

We’re just getting started with Premieres! We’re excited about the potential of Premieres and think the product will continue to be of huge value as it turns music video releases into major fan events. We will continue to evolve the feature and find more unique ways for artists to connect and engage with fans.