Making Money from Your Music on YouTube: What You Need to Know!

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[Click HERE for full details about CD Baby’s FREE sync licensing program and start making money from YouTube today.]

Did you know that you can now earn money from your music on YouTube? The video streaming giant is fast becoming one of the most popular music-discovery platforms, but it’s not only a great site for PROMOTING your music; YouTube has also turned into an essential vehicle for driving independent artist revenue.

With CD Baby’s sync licensing program, you’ll can get paid for the usage of your music on YouTube— and not just in your own videos; over 60 hours of new video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. That’s a lot of people who need good tunes to match up with the cuddly cat videos and wedding slideshows they’re posting. Our partnership with music licensing firm, Rumblefish, will make your music available for these new income-generating opportunities on YouTube. We have two sync licensing options at CD Baby (All Media and MicroSync), both of which give you have the ability to get in on the action.

Since there can be some confusion when dealing with a few companies at once (for example: CD Baby partners with Rumblefish to collect money from YouTube on your behalf) we thought we’d prepare this little guide for you. It’s intended to help you understand how it works so you don’t inadvertently (and temporarily) screw up your ability to get paid.

YouTube’s content ID system

Once you’ve chosen which sync licensing option is best for your music (and opted-in, of course), your music will be delivered to YouTube’s content ID system. This means that YouTube will scan your tracks with their magical high-tech machinery and register an exact sonic “fingerprint” for each and every one of your songs in their database.

From that point on, any time someone out there in the YouTube universe uploads a video which uses one of your songs, you will make money from the ad revenue generated by that video.

The more videos on YouTube using your music, the more money you can make.

Once YouTube has fingerprinted your music in their content ID process, every video that contains your music will generate ad revenue for you. This includes videos YOU have uploaded. If you login to your YouTube account and see a copyright notice like the one shown below– don’t worry!

No one is claiming ownership of your music. This just means the content ID system identified your song and it’s now setup to generate revenue.

What should I do if YouTube shows me a copyright notice concerning videos I’ve uploaded that contain my own music? 

Nothing. This is your indicator that your music is now ready for monetization on YouTube. DO NOT DISPUTE IT! Whenever your videos (or someone else’s videos that use your music) are played, you’ll earn money from ad revenue.

In other words, the notice you received is simply a product of YouTube’s content ID system; there is no actual infringement.  They have identified the music used in your video as an asset from the Rumblefish catalog (CD Baby’s music licensing partner), which allows YouTube to monetize the video by placing ads around it.

Our policy is to not block videos that are identified, as we want the artists/copyright holders of the music to be paid royalties as a result of the ad placements.

YouTube operates a free service for hundreds of millions of people.  The ad revenue generated from content ID is how they continue to offer the service for free.

But I own the song. Why doesn’t YouTube know that? 

There are many scenarios where an artist might not actually own the song (for instance: they’re signed to a label that owns the master recording). YouTube doesn’t know all the details; they just know that Rumblefish (who has partnered with CD Baby for this sync licensing program) is administering the monetization of that song.  They will collect the money owed to you and it will be paid through your CD Baby account.  NO ownership of your music is being transferred to Rumblefish.

I’m already a YouTube partner and have ad revenue set up for the videos in my channel, will the exclusive content ID rights affect my standing with the revenue stream on my videos?

This will not interfere with your monetized videos that DO NOT contain music that is a part of the CD Baby Sync program. But it’s possible that it could interfere with your videos that do contain music you’ve opted-in for CD Baby’s sync licensing program.  If so, send an email to cdbaby@cdbaby.com and we will give you instructions on how to quickly solve this problem.

Hopefully this explanation of YouTube’s Content ID process is helpful. As always, if you have additional comments or questions, please leave them in the section below.

-Chris R. at CD Baby

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