June 23, 2022 In Blog

How Do Musicians Make Money From YouTube?

By Alyssa Minnec & Adam Freedman

These days, it seems that YouTube is one of the most important platforms to have your music on. It’s been the biggest music streaming platform for years now! However, we keep hearing questions from artists and musicians about where this money comes from, and how can they collect the revenue generated from all of their YouTube streams.

First off, “monetizing your videos” means that you are allowing YouTube to place ads in your videos, and then you’ll split the ad revenue with YouTube, 55%/45% respectively. YouTube Rules and Policies, 2022.

However, there are a few requirements to be allowed into the “YouTube Partner Program” (and monetize the videos on your channel). You must have (1) at least 4,000 hours of overall watch time on your channel within the past year; and (2) at least 1,000 subscribers. If you fit these credentials, all you do to turn on ads is go to “YouTube Studio,” select a video from your “Content,” and click “Monetization.”

Part of the YouTube Partner Program is the ability to use YouTube’s “Content ID” system, which allows you to track other videos featuring your song, then collect royalties by placing ads on those videos. Youtube’s Content ID system scans a song’s “audio fingerprint” against its database of videos. Then, when a match is found, the people who used your song in their videos will receive a “Content ID” claim.

You will have the option to monetize those videos (or to have them removed if you so choose).

What Is A YouTube Monetization Company?

Regardless of whether you meet the criteria for the YouTube Partner Program, simply relying on YouTube’s Content ID system may miss some uses. Therefore, although monetizing your videos is a task you can handle yourself, many artists/producers/labels sign up with a “YouTube Monetization” or a Publishing Administration company.

In addition to leveraging YouTube’s monitoring systems, YouTube Monetization companies track uses of your music through their own copyright monitoring systems, as well as have people proactively searching for other uses of your music. They can handle “whitelisting” certain uses, but they then handle placing ads on your videos, as well as on these other videos using your music, and collect the associated revenue.

There are hundreds of small business owners across the web that offer personal YouTube monetization services. These companies most likely have their own, direct agreements with Youtube, and are therefore able to offer more favorable deals to clients. Even if you don’t meet the criteria for the YouTube Partner Program, you can get all of the same benefits through one of these companies.

What Royalties Are Generated From Music on YouTube?

Monetized YouTube videos generate royalties from both the master and publishing side of the music. On the master side, this revenue is typically collected by your distributor or your label, if there is one, and simply added to the royalties you would already receive.

On the publishing side, Youtube views actually generate both mechanical and performance royalties. Performance royalties are collected by performing rights organizations (PROs) such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc. The mechanical royalties are collected by mechanical rights organizations such as the Harry Fox Agency. Having a company that keeps track of all of these payments and makes sure that you are registered everywhere you need to be is essential to collect all of your money.

It’s important to note that there actually is no firm royalty rate in connection with monetizing YouTube videos. Again, placing ads before your videos is what’s actually generating money. However, the actual dollar amount you will receive depends on many factors, including the video itself, the area of the world where someone watched your video, whether the video was viewed from a paid platform or not, etc. Generally, the more popular the video is, the higher the ad rate paid by the advertiser.


The biggest takeaway here is to make sure that you have your music registered with these companies mentioned above, or hire someone to help you. Keeping track of your royalties across platforms in 2022 with technology constantly improving is a difficult task. However, having one of these companies on your side not only protects your work, but it makes sure that you receive every dollar that your music has generated.