How Musicians Make Money from YouTube

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How Musicians Make Money from YouTubeAccording to Brian Botkiller, YouTube has turned into “the world’s jukebox.” It’s the most popular music-discovery tool online. Over 6 billion hours of video is streamed every single month by more than 1 billion unique users — and a huge amount of those folks are looking for music.

All this music activity on YouTube is generating new money for independent musicians.

Is your music on YouTube? If so, great!

But are you getting paid for that music on YouTube? If not, you should be — and CD Baby is here to help. We’ve already paid out almost half-a-million dollars to artists for the use of their music in YouTube videos.

A lot of independent musicians don’t know it’s even possible to “monetize” songs on YouTube, and that’s understandable. YouTube doesn’t allow you as an artist to monetize your songs yourself.

Sure, you can monetize the VIDEOS in your YouTube channel on your own, but not your SONGS — and that’s an important distinction. (More on this later).

What kind of money is YouTube paying to musicians?

The answer is simple: ad revenue. YouTube IS a Google company, after all.

You know — banner ads, video ads, ads that are skippable after the first 5 seconds, and ads that aren’t. YouTube puts on its wizardly Google clothing and serves up the ads it thinks a particular viewer will be most responsive to based on that user’s previous search, web-surfing, and viewing habits, their location, and lots of other creepy factors it’s probably best not to think about. Google KNOWS!

Anyway, companies pay YouTube for that targeted advertising reach — sometimes paying per-click, sometimes paying per-impression, sometimes per view (for video ads) — and YouTube shares some of this ad revenue with the content creator (the person who uploaded the video on which the advertisement is being run).

In short, the way musicians earn money from YouTube is by allowing YouTube to place ads on the videos which feature their music.

The difference between monetizing YouTube videos and monetizing songs on YouTube

OK. Much of what I’ve said thus far is fairly common knowledge, at least amongst YouTube-savvy musicians. But here’s something lots of musicians don’t know: you can monetize ANY video on YouTube that uses your music, not just the videos in your channel — and CD Baby helps you do it.

When someone uses one of your songs in their crazy cat video, YouTube can ID your song, place an ad on the video, and direct a share of any ad revenue generated by the video to YOU. That’s right: when someone else uses your music in one of their YouTube videos, they forfeit their ability to collect ad revenue for that video — and it gets paid, instead, to you.

Who else would be using my music on YouTube besides me?

Well, lots of people — and the more folks that use your music in YouTube videos, the more money you’ll make. Here are just a few of the ways your music can be used in other peoples’ video content on YouTube:

* Fan videos (which you can encourage through contests)

* Crazy cat videos (or any home movie or family slideshow where people want to add a soundtrack)

* Corporate presentations and how-to videos

* Commercials

* Song videos (where someone uploads your song with a still image of the album art, band photo, etc.)

* And more

Get paid for the usage of your music on YouTube

CD Baby’s mission is to help artists make money. As the music business shifts to catch up with technological innovations, we want to make sure indie musicians aren’t getting left out. That’s why we’ve created a simple solution to make sure you get paid for your music on YouTube.

And because we want to make sure you’re not missing out on this money, there’s no additional cost to get enrolled in our YouTube monetization program (beyond the initial signup fee for your album or single).

With the help of our sync-licensing partners at Rumblefish, we’ll get YouTube to sonically fingerprint all the music you’re selling on CD Baby and use their IDing system to find any video out there in the YouTube universe where your music appears. YouTube will place an ad on those videos and we’ll make sure you get paid a share of any ad revenue generated. We’ve already paid almost half-a-million dollars to independent musicians for the usage of their music on YouTube. By the end of 2013, we’re projecting that figure will top a million. Are you earning your share?

Get paid for your music on YouTube today! 

For more information on how to make money from YouTube while promoting your music, download our FREE guide:

Free Guide: 
Make Money From Your Music on YouTube

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  • The Man

    My monetization gets rejected because my songs are distributed via CDBaby (Third party content). The question is, am I still getting paid via CDBaby fro the banner ads and commercials which continue to be displayed over my videos AFTER my monetization is removed?

  • So, are you trying to monetize the videos in your channel directly — but still let CD Baby monetize your songs in other videos outside your channel? If so, just dispute the CD Baby claim when it appears in your YouTube account. We'll pay you for any revenue generated up to the point at which YouTube switches the ad-share rights back to you.


    • The Man

      As long as I’m gettign paid for ads being run on my videos I don’t care who the money is going through. I don’t have a choice anyways as one can’t contest a rejection after it’s been done.

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  • Kolombo

    I’ve heard a lot of stories when people try to monetize their YouTube accounts but they are being rejected. And it happens during the last couple of years. I got my account approved about 4-5 years I think and it was way simpler. Now I only need to worry about getting views on YouTube basically and that is it. I follow these general rules for that so it’s not a difficult issue at all. I was always curious of those webservices that promise you get a boost of views after a couple of days. Has anyone tried them? What could be side effects?

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