How to Upload a DJ Mix on YouTube – Including Your Own Artwork

How to upload a DJ mix to YouTube

YouTube is a great way in which you can showcase and promote your own DJ mixes, but how do you create and upload a mix with great looking artwork or cover art, and upload something that will be found in searches?

We spoke to one of our readers in the UK this week who regularly uploads his DJ mixes, and asked him to give us a great overview of how he does it.

This super-streamlined way of uploading DJ mixes to YouTube, also includes creating great artwork or album art graphics to make the mix stand out from the crowd.

The following was a contribution from a reader of ours called James Mack. 

How to Upload a DJ Mix to YouTube

In this tutorial you will learn how to: 

  1. Create artwork for your YouTube video
  2. Compress the audio for faster uploads
  3. Upload a DJ mix to YouTube
  4. Optimise the video to appear high up in searches 

The tools that I use are: 

You don’t have to have the software I have listed above, as there are alternatives available, but the concept will be the same. 

I am assuming that you have already got your DJ mix recorded and ready in a digital format.

It’s important to note that you can’t upload raw audio files to YouTube. You can only upload video files. That means you need to convert your DJ mix to a video file, and the best way to do that is by adding artwork to it using video editing software, then exporting it out as a video file. 

These are my own steps, other people will do it differently, but I’ve used this method for years now and it’s always worked a treat.

Step 1: Create Your DJ Mix Artwork File

Before we even think about producing the final file to upload to YouTube you will need to create your album artwork.

You might already have something you want to use, or you might want to create something from scratch.

I won’t be giving you any design lessons here, as there are far better places online you can get design tips, but what I can do is give you the dimensions you want your artwork to be set to so that it’s just the right size for YouTube videos.

The ratio should be 16:9, and in terms of exact dimensions then it will need to be a multiple of that figure. I always use dimensions of around 1280 by 720 pixels, which is a 16:9 ratio.

The reason I go this large is because I want high quality resolution, and something that won’t degrade or pixelate if people watch and listen to the DJ mix on YouTube in full-screen view.

I will save my image file as a .png.

Step 2: Import Your Mix Audio to Video Editing Software

The next thing that I do is open up my video editing software. I use a program called Camtasia by TechSmith which is great for this purpose.

The reason we need video editing software is because we will be adding your artwork to your mix, so that you can then export a video file with audio and an image, which you can then upload to YouTube.

Once Camtasia (or similar such as iMovie) is open you will need to import your audio track to it. My DJ mixes are always in .wav format initially.

It’s simply to do, you click the “import media” button as shown below.

Importing audio to your video software

Once your wav or audio file is imported you can now drag it onto the timeline in the video editing software as you can see below.

Drag audio mix to track

Step 3: Import Your DJ Mix Artwork to Video Editing Software

But what’s missing?

That’s right, the album artwork, or DJ mix art.

If you have already prepared yours at the 16:9 ratio as described in step 1, then it’s ready to import, in a similar fashion to how you imported the audio mix file.

Once imported you can drag the artwork onto the video timeline, but as a separate track, as shown in the image below.

Mix artwork on a different track

It’s important here that you ensure the artwork track is the same length and time duration as the actual mix track so that it shows throughout the entire duration of the video during playback. 

Step 4: Export the DJ Mix Video File

Once you are happy with everything, you will need to export the video file. I always export at the highest audio quality possible and in the .mp4 format.

Once exported, double click the file and run through it to make sure the audio quality is ok, and the video artwork shows all the way to the end of the playable file.

The exported file will probably be quite large, and might be too large for you to upload to YouTube, but don’t worry as the next tip will help you get around that. 

Step 5: Compress the DJ Mix Video File

Chances are your exported file is going to be massive.

It’s going to take ages to upload the file to YouTube, and you might even have restrictions on upload size if it’s a new YouTube account, but not to worry.

What we can do is compress the file without compromising the audio quality.

I work on a Mac, and the software I use is called Handbrake. It’s also available on Windows too and you can download it from here.

Open up Handbrake and click the “open source” button.

Compression quality for DJ mixes on YouTube

Locate your saved and exported .mp4 file of your DJ mix, then select it. You should now see the following screen in Handbrake, plus the settings that I use for exporting which you can copy.

You can now click the green start button and the Handbrake software will start to compress the file as a smaller .mp4 file.

Wait a few minutes, and you will then have a far smaller file size you can use for uploading purposes – test it and watch it before you go to YouTube though to make sure that you are happy with the quality.

Typically when using this method before uploading to YouTube I have got my DJ mixes compressed down in size by about 70%, and with no loss in audio or sound quality.

Step 6: Upload the DJ Mix Video File to YouTube

I am going to assume that you know the basics of YouTube with this aspect, and won’t go into massive amounts of detail, but will include some tips to help your DJ mix video to be found more on YouTube, and get more listens. 

Before you upload the file, make sure that’s it’s named appropriately. 

For example, the DJ mix I am using in this tutorial is a hard house mix in the Trade style (Trade was a nightclub in the UK years ago). Because of that I named the file trade-hard-house.mp4.

YouTube looks at file names and this will help with your video appearing in the YouTube search listings. 

Once you have re-named it to something that suits you, go to YouTube and click the upload icon that you see in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Select your DJ mix file and click to upload it.

Now, that was the simple part.

What I will now tell you in Step 7 is how to optimise the YouTube title and description so that your DJ mix gets heard and watched.

Step 7: Optimizing Your DJ Mix Video on YouTube for Searches

YouTube videos are the same as any web-page on the Internet.

If you optimize them properly with keywords and a great written description, then they will get found easier. Not just in YouTube, but they can also appear in the Google search engine listings!

Firstly, give the YouTube video a great title.

As mentioned, with my DJ mix video I wanted it to appear for Trade Hard House, and searches similar like that so I titled mine appropriately as you can see below:

Write a good video title

But what I also did was make sure that I wrote a long and detailed description for the video as well, using terms and keywords that I thought people might use when searching for this type of DJ mix set.

The trick is to write around 500 words, and also use a track-listing so the tracks will get picked up in searches as well.

You can see how I did this by visiting the video DJ mix on YouTube by clicking this link:

If you click the “SHOW MORE” button underneath the video you will see the description that I wrote. It contains:

  • Around 500 words of content
  • Description text and uses of words I think people might search for
  • A track listing to help with being found
  • Links out to other interesting mixes and websites

I also used the description area to provide links out to other DJ mixes on my channel.

As a DJ you could use this area to link to your own website or social media profiles to help promote yourself better. 

Once that’s all done click to “publish” and you are done!

Step 8: The Final Result!

So what results am I getting so far?

The DJ mix has been live for just a few days and it’s already had nearly 200 plays, and is in position 3 in YouTube when someone searches for Trade Hard House! Here’s what it looks and sounds like:

There’s no reason why you can’t do the same, and I hope this has helped!

Since this guide was written, we have also put together hints and tips on how you can get more plays and views for your DJ mix YouTube video.


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