How a former social worker hit over 322 million YouTube views with kids music videos
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third in a series EastIdahoNews.com is calling “Social Media Stars.” Every day this week, we’ll be speaking with average Americans who made it big on YouTube and Facebook.
He may not look like your typical YouTube star, but ask your young children and chances are they’ve heard of Jack Hartmann.
His Kids Music Channel videos have been viewed over 322 million times and his songs are catchy, upbeat, and yes, a little goofy.
Hartmann launched his channel nine years ago but his love of music and children goes back decades.
“I worked as a social worker, worked with autistic children and worked with delinquent kids, so I was working with children in a little more serious capacity,” he says during a Skype interview with EastIdahoNews.com.
As a young man, the Florida native began substituting in kindergarten and met another teacher who asked him to write music for her students.
He agreed and, like a good love song, they ended up getting married.
That was 36 years ago. Since then, Hartmann has produced 45 albums and written over 1,000 songs.
“I like having a variety of styles of music and not everybody does that,” Hartmann says. “A lot of times you’ll see the same style of music on some channels.”
Hartmann originally produced DVDs featuring his music. As Youtube was becoming popular, he decided to take his videos online, but was a little leary.
“We weren’t sure about YouTube. We didn’t know much about it and didn’t know how it was going to work,” he recalls. “I love educating children, I love singing songs but we didn’t know the business end of it. My wife was a little hesitant too and I said, ‘I think we should jump in. I think we should try it.'”
Hartmann writes his music and records it at a studio near his home. In the beginning, he and his wife shot the videos together and after a year of putting them online, they received their first check from YouTube for $400.
“Just like any business, you start out slow,” Hartmann says.
Gradually, things took off and once the Jack Hartmann Kids Music Channel hit 100,000 subscribers, YouTube gave him a consultant to help grow the channel even more.
Hartmann’s videos are shown in classrooms across the country and he even takes his show on the road. He’s booked solid through next June, performing at schools and other venues.
“I love kids. I’ve worked with kids my whole life so I do about 200 concerts a year,” he says.
In recent years, Hartmann began using animation in some of his videos and the view numbers exploded.
His business has grown and he now employees a full-time videographer, along with his wife and a few other workers.
Hartmann says aspiring YouTubers shouldn’t expect to be an overnight success but if you’re good, success will find you.
“I would first test out what you’re doing with your market,” Hartmann says. “Get your own green screen, get somebody that can maybe come in and shoot video. The other tip for people is keep on. Like any business, keep at it.”
WATCH OUR ENTIRE UNEDITED CONVERSATION WITH JACK HARTMANN