YouTube Monetization Of Your Music

Musicians looking to make money from their music have many avenues open to them for doing such.

You can sell band merchandise at your concerts and collecting royalties from plays on streaming services.

You can even make money by simply uploading your music on YouTube.

Learning how to earn money as a YouTube content creator doesn’t take long and it isn’t difficult to set up your YouTube creator account.

What is YouTube Monetization?

YouTube monetization is the process by which you can make money by uploading original content to the site.

Payout varies due to many factors, like how frequently your content is viewed or used, how many subscribers you have, and whether or not you adhere to YouTube Community Guidelines.

How Does YouTube Monetization Work?

Before you do anything, we recommend going through the YouTube Creator Academy, which will teach you how being a content creator on YouTube works.

This covers everything from learning how to get your channel discovered to learning how to make great content and grow your channel.

And of course, there is even a specific course within the academy dedicated to helping creators that are musicians.

The course explains the ins and outs of using the platform to promote your music career, and how it can help you.

It goes above and beyond by offering additional information about how to promote your upcoming tours, how to build a deeper connection with your fans, and how to know how music rights are managed on the platform.

Though it depends on your particular location and situation – like if you have contracts with a distributor or record label – you can earn money from your music on YouTube in one of three ways.

Depending on which way you choose to approach getting your music monetized, you can start earning revenue pretty quickly.

YouTube’s Content ID System

If you are the copyright owner of the music (and of any music videos and live videos) you want to upload and monetize, you can also manually add it to YouTube’s Content ID system.

This process can take your eligible music and actively searches to see if it is being used by other people in their videos, places a claim on it on your behalf, and identifies it as belonging to a different person, not them.

To do this, you’ll upload your sound recordings to your distributor.

Next, your distributor will then send your music to YouTube.

They will then scan every other video on the site to determine if your music is being used in someone else’s video.

And if they find that it is, you’ll earn royalty revenue.

Your music is worth money, and you deserve to get paid every time it is played and used.

It is also critical that you provide thorough and accurate metadata information for each song, composition, or video you upload on YouTube.

The more information you provide, the easier it may be for content to be identified, claimed, and protected.

Guide to Monetizing Your Music on YouTube Independently

As an independent creator running your own music page, you can apply to YouTube’s Partner Program.

It’s easy to sign up for, but there are a few eligibility requirements you’ll need to meet first, though. In order to get approved, you must:

  • Have an approved Google AdSense account set up and connected
  • Have at least 1,000 subscribers
  • Have at least 4,000 public watch hours within the previous year
  • Reside in a country or region where YouTube’s Partner Program is available
  • Follow all YouTube Partner Program policies

Once your account is reviewed and approved, which typically takes about one month, you can start earning immediately.

At this point, you can adjust your monetization preferences within your Google account, under the Monetization tab.

You’ll select the type of ads you want to run, and see examples of what the ads will look like on your videos.

Ads can be placed on your videos through the AdSense bidding process.

The process is automated and based on what type of video it is, your channel, and factors like your demographics.

You’ll also need to maintain each of the above numbers if you want to continue monetizing your content on YouTube, and continue to regularly post and be an active channel.

Though you won’t be immediately dropped from the program if ever drop below these thresholds, YouTube can remove monetization from your videos if you have remained below one or more thresholds for six months or more.

The company wants to see you be an active part of the community, not just drop off a bunch of content one time and slowly earn money from it, which is fair.

You can also add your music to the Content ID system, and passively earn potential royalty income that way.

There aren’t any guarantees that other people will use your music, or that the system will catch every instance of it being used, but it gives you a better chance to earn revenue than if you weren’t using the system.

Guide to Monetizing Music on YouTube Through A Distributor

If you feel like you need assistance in getting your music channel set up and monetized, you can get help from third-party distributors, like CD Baby or Symphonic.

Distributors automatically collect your YouTube revenue for you.

YouTube pays the distributor when your music is played, then they in turn pay you.

And by far, the biggest bonus to working with a distributor is that they can handle enrolling your music in YouTube’s Content ID system for you.

Again, the system isn’t perfect, and there isn’t a guarantee that fans or random users will feature your music in their videos, but you deserve to be paid for uses of your music, and the system can help flag copyright violations and get you your earned royalty revenue.

Distributors can help put your music into digital stores for downloads so you can earn money that way.

They can also help you set up merch sales and promote tour information, even on your YouTube channel.

Fees for distributors vary, however, and can have many requirements and rules attached, so be sure to research them before you sign up with a distributor.

Guide to Monetizing Your Music on YouTube Through A Record Label

This process works similarly to that of working with a distributor.

In many cases, your record label may already have a licensing agreement set up with YouTube for their entire music catalog.

Your label will be the middleman between you and YouTube, and work directly with them to get your content monetized.

Whenever your songs are played or used in someone else’s video, they will collect the royalty revenue, then pass on your portion to you.

And as with record label contracts themselves, conditions for earning money through record label monetization on YouTube vary, so be sure to read through any distribution fine print – perhaps even with a lawyer – before your sign.

Labels should also process your songs through YouTube’s Content ID system to ensure it isn’t being used in other people’s monetized videos.

Record labels will likely pursue this – and do a better job of it – than independent users or distributors, which means you have the best possible shot of collecting your due royalty revenue from other uses on YouTube.

It is worth noting that, depending on your contract with your record label, you may not receive as high a percentage of the royalties as you perhaps may through a distributor.

Tools for Managing Your Monetization

In addition to knowing how monetization through YouTube’s Partner Program, or through a third-party distributor or record label, works, you should also know about the tools you have at your fingertips that can help you do a better job of managing your monetization efforts.

From your creator dashboard, you can monitor every video upload you have through Google’s included analytics tool.

You can see which videos are the most popular, how viewers found your videos, and which ones are earning you the most money.

This can give you a better idea of how to manage your content in the future.

Eligible creator accounts can eventually unlock additional features that can bring in revenue for you.

Your channel can potentially be able to display tour information, sell merch directly, offer channel memberships, unlock super chat, and offer you brand deals.

YouTube Monetization Quick Summary

This is a lot of information to take in, so let’s take a moment to review everything.

If you are planning on uploading and monetizing your music independently through YouTube’s Partner Program, create your account and apply for the program.

Then sign up for AdSense and decide what you want your ad and monetization settings to be.

Next, wait to get approved. Once you are, you’re good to go.

If you’re choosing to work through a third-party distributor or record label, they should take care of most or all of this for you.

If they don’t, they will tell you what specific things you need to handle yourself.

How GigFaster Can Help?

If you’re still looking to get more (money) from your music career after monetizing your songs on YouTube, you can send them to venues, promoters, journalists, and record labels.

This is often a very time-consuming project for most musicians.

But it doesn’t have to be – you can let GigFaster help.

We have a large database of over 6,000 contacts within the music industry, and we can help you get your music to venues and indie record labels alike.

Try out GigFaster today with a free trial, or jump right in today for a low monthly fee. Learn how to take your music viral today.


Craig Kelley

About Craig Kelley

Craig helps indie artists book more gigs, promote their music and submit to record labels @ GigFaster and GigFaster University . His latest release is his 7th album, Not So Blue. His band has supported Grammy artists including Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Rick Derringer, Gary Hoey, Joan Jett, Fuel and many more. He is also the host of The 5 Minute Podcast For Musicians.

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