Minutes of Music Knowledge: Maximize Your Music Revenue on YouTube

Kevin Day
3 min readNov 8, 2019

YouTube is an incredible entertainment resource, the amount of content available on YouTube is endless; we have all had the experience of getting lost down the video wormhole spiraling deeper into niche video topics and how-to tutorials.

Here is an interesting fact, YouTube is the largest music streaming site on Planet Earth. Despite being the largest music streaming service, YouTube pays artist the least amount of all music streaming services. YouTube would have a hard time disagreeing with this statistic, but they would likely emphasize that unlike other streaming services, there are multiple ways to monetize music on their platform.

How Does YouTube Monetization Work?

As you know, you can watch videos and listen to music on YouTube, each of these formats generate revenue both together and separately as different rights exist for video content and for music content.

1.YouTube Partner Program: To participate in this program, you will need to set up a Channel on YouTube in order to place your videos and music all in one place. The Partner Program will allow your channel to earn a share of the advertising money that YouTube earns by running advertising on your channel. As owner of the channel, you will earn 55% and YouTube will keep 45%.

In 2019 YouTube changed the monetization requirements

a) Generate more than 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months.

b) Have more than 1,000 subscribers.

c) Have a linked AdSense account to receive payments.

2. Content ID: YouTube used to expend time and effort chasing copyright violations. In the last few years, YouTube now relies on Content ID.

Instead of pulling unauthorized music or video off of unauthorized users channels, Content ID uses an algorithm to detect your music and then monetizes your video by running advertising on the video, no matter who’s channel it is.

The revenue for the advertising is then split between YouTube and the content owners. More info on Content ID is available here.

3. YouTube for Artists: recently YouTube launched a new dashboard driven tool for musicians called YouTube for Artists.

This allows you to see data about your music and videos and help to identify how and where your music and videos are connecting with your fans, and which ones are not so that you can continue to tailor your content strategy to meet the needs of your fan base. More info here.

4. Streaming Revenue: When your music or music video is played on YouTube there are 4 different royalties generated. There revenues are outlined below with two revenue streams paid directly to songwriters.

a) Content Owner royalty paid through label or distributor

b) Sound Recording Owner royalty paid through label or distributor

c) Performance Royalty for the public broadcast of your song for songwriter paid via PRO

d) Mechanical Royalty for the interactive stream of your song for songwriter paid via Publisher

5. Super Chat: This option was first launched nearly three years ago but has been rebranded and redeployed as a way for fans to pay small amounts to interact directly with creators. This is particularly useful in crowded live chats hosted by popular creators where the comments section is packed, such as during premieres. Super Chat is similar to Twitch’s Cheering feature, lets a fan call attention to their message by highlighting it in a bright color and pinning it to the top of the stream to give it more visibility.

Since launch, more than 100,000 channels have used Super Chat, with some earning more than $400 per minute, per YouTube.

As always, it is important that you have a plan for launching your music and video and then be creative and strategic about how you maximize your views and your traffic.

It’s time to get serious about the Business of Music.

infographic used with thanks to Statista