Simon Cowell says artists aren't making it big on YouTube at the moment because "everybody is doing the same thing".
Cowell was sharing some of the secrets to his success during a question and answer session at the Brit School, where he surprised students with a visit.
He spoke about his early days at school, admitting: "I was bored out of my mind actually."
But he went to reveal how when he had landed his first job at a record label, he had to do everything himself.
"I didn't have anyone telling me, I was literally thrown in the deep end," he said, "So I made my first record for £5,000, I made the video, made the record, I didn't have any money for a promotions company so I did the promotion, I didn't have a sales team... it was the best education I ever had."
After 18 months of hard work he succeeded though and his song, which was recorded by long-time friend Sinitta, went to number two in the charts.
"I think I made the record because I fancied her at the time actually," he said.
Cowell visited the Brit School and Nordoff Robbins facility in the grounds ahead of being honoured at this year's Music Industry Trust Awards (MITS), which is held to raise money for the school and the music therapy charity.
He is being honoured by MITS, and will be presented his award at a ceremony to be held in November.
Previous stars who have been honoured include Sir Tom Jones, Sir Elton John, Kylie Minogue and Gary Barlow.
The school is the UK's leading performing arts and technology state school and previous alumni include Adele, Jessie J, Leona Lewis and the late Amy Winehouse to name but a few.
Speaking about Adele, Cowell said: "I can always remember, that incredible Brits performance and it was nothing more than a spotlight and for three minutes it was just mesmerising, and when you've got that kind of talent, you don't need tricks."
He spent the first part of his visit going on a tour around the school with its principal, Stuart Worden.
Among the classes he visited were a dance class, computer class and a recording studio. He watched two students performing in the studio, and congratulated them after their session, saying: "That was great."
The two students - Dayo Bello and Rehaim West - who are both studying music at the Brit School - were ecstatic.
"It was a little nerve wracking," said 17-year-old Rehaim, who is from East Dulwich.
During a visit to a set design class, Cowell took time to speak to the students.
"It's quite nice to see he's interested in stuff like set design, not just people on stage," said 17-year-old Rachel Chrystie, from south Croydon.
The second part of his tour saw him meet a music therapist and family at the Nordoff Robbins facilities.
He met mother Gabriella Emery and her four-year-old daughter, Claudia, who has music therapy there.