A day in the life of Youtube content creator Kieran Dickson
How would you describe your work?
I would describe it as community co-ordination, and content creation, primarily on YouTube. I work for the karaoke Youtube channel Sing King, we try to give people the highest quality, up to date, popular backing tracks so that they can put their spin on it, sing along and develop their bond with an artist they admire.
How did you get started?
Well, it depends how far back you want to go. My initial passion for music started at a young age and led to me hanging out with musicians/nerds who shared my interests, which led me to becoming a musician, which led me to study music at an Academy in a performance capacity and then a business capacity. Networking through volunteering, using what I knew to contribute to discussions and talking to industry vets led me to working with a karaoke software company, initially as content manager. When they unfortunately had to let people go I had the experience necessary to help a couple of friends of mine grow a YouTube Channel they had been working on, which had around a couple hundred thousand subscribers at the time. That was Sing King. We grew it to be the largest of its kind, now with 3.8 million subscribers, in just under three years.
Do you have a daily routine? Can you describe it for us?
Not really. We work on more of a weekly routine: the things we do Monday and Friday are very different to what we do mid-week. Monday, we look at the latest releases: what’s hot? What are our viewers wanting to see? We mix that with market research as sometimes what our viewers think they want and what they actually want are very different. For instance, a loud minority will request a track, and upon it’s creation it will have a lot less views and interactions than most regular tracks.
For this we use Google trends and other blogs to do qualitative research and ask our studios if they want to make any tracks. While Dan and I are musicians, making 7+ tracks a week would be quite difficult single handedly. The studios don’t always want to do all the tracks we ask for, however they trust our judgement and can usually get the most in demand tracks.
The rest of the week we’re turning them into the videos you see on the channel and on the Friday we try to do a New Music Friday talk about what’s new, what’s worth checking out and just talking about music. We also license the tracks we own. However, one thing to understand is in a single track there is a “Master Right” which is literally the audio track itself but the “Publisher/Songwriting Right” is the underlying composition. We can license our tracks to third parties and negotiate terms for use. Very fun.
What keeps you going every day?
We want to build an integral platform for quality music and performance. We love that young people use YouTube to demonstrate their ability. With the platform we’ve built we want to work with producers and talented artists to showcase talent. We have many hurdles, but by meeting people and forging relationships with inspiring creators we hope to ensure that everybody has the opportunity to showcase their talent. That’s our vision.
What are the main challenges that you face in your work?
Copyright is a very complicated topic, both legally and in certain digital applications. YouTube have done their best to play their part, but the rules can appear to be one way one day, and a different way another day. The job is very adaptive. The challenges come from that we don’t make most of our income directly, we make it via YouTube and if the platform is volatile, so are our jobs and futures. Other creators find this the case even when not working with copyrighted works, and then we add copyright into the mix, which compounds the challenges.
What three pieces of advice would you give anyone wanting to do similar work?
Know your channel, LEARN your analytics- they are THE MOST important things!
They will tell you everything you need to know about your audience and retention. Learn the algorithm to the best of your ability. Knowing that is knowing your value, and you can only add to your value from there.
Add Script writing, add directing, add editing, all of these things come into play when working with brands but that will only happen when you have an audience, which you will only get by knowing your analytics.
I went to an Academy for music in my teens. There were SOOO many young men and women who could sing well and were attractive and wanted to be singers. However, they didn’t want to learn music theory, or practise scales/theory. However the full time singers I know now, can do anything asked of them because they learned their skill inside out. When it comes to working for yourself, or for a fan base, you want to be the ultimate convenience for yourself and your fans.
In the same vein, there’re so many people that want to be YouTube stars. I’ve spoken to creators who have 100,000 subs and haven’t dug into their analytics. They’re lucky it works for them. Understanding data, analysing data, trial, error, and qualitative testing are all SOOOOO BORING however, knowing about these things will rocket you to success. If you know WHO your audience are, what else they watch, how to keep them engaged.
So really my three pieces of advice are: Get Viewers, Keep Viewers Happy, Keep Yourself Happy. Your analytics will help you in every part of those. You NEVER want to be a slave to your fans, doing work you don’t enjoy because you have to, you’ll burn out. Try new things, you’re creative. See what works, even if your fans love it but you don’t, it doesn’t have to be a long term idea. Get Viewers is the bait, Keep Viewers happy is their investment in you after you got their curiosity, and Keeping yourself happy helps to create a community.
What would you like to work on next?
I feel I have worked with YouTube for such a long time without having much interaction with others. My background is being a dishwasher, a waiter, a customer service agent, and a content manager. I get my satisfaction knowing I can do my best by someone. I think what’s next for me I would love to manage YouTube talent. Most talent now are quite young, the tech is new, the audience is young and exploitation still exists. Meeting, growing, inspiring creators and aligning them with appropriate opportunities to grow and develop would be fantastic. I’ve travelled a lot, I’ve worked in customer service. Satisfaction is something I would want for talent, for brands and growth for each. I want to help others realise and reach their potential through want I know and their creativity.
Check out Sing King’s more than 1,500 karaoke videos here.
Make sure to watch Kieran every Friday on Sing King’s new music roundup and follow him on Twitter here.
Thank you Kieran!
P.S: I’m just going to leave this video here for you…