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YouTube’s Global Head of Music, Lyor Cohen, announced on June 2, 2021, that YouTube has paid over $4 billion in the last year to artists, songwriters, and other rights-holders. Plus, according to YouTube, over two million users log on each month with over one billion hours of content watched per day. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder that YouTube continues to be one of the most dominant forms of entertainment viewing in our society.

As a creative, how can you get in on the action? Here are three ways for musicians to make money and collect money through YouTube.

1. Make money from your music and copyright.
This option of generating income from YouTube separates musicians from the overarching category of general YouTube Creators. YouTube recognizes that many artists have a large following on this platform, and some even built those followings on YouTube, so they have made ways for artists to profit from it.

For creatives that own the copyright to their music, you can add your songs to YouTube’s Content ID. This is a tool that essentially scours the plethora of content on YouTube for videos with music that use that same copyright. If your music is featured in a video, Content ID collects revenue from the advertising placed on the video that uses your music. YouTube only allows Content ID to the copyright owners that meet specific criteria in their verification process. To start this process, visit

Performance and mechanical royalties can be collected from YouTube videos. The public showing itself would gain the performance royalty, which would be paid from a Performance Rights Organization (PRO), and if you are the songwriter, mechanical royalties can be collected through a label as well.

To collect royalties from music on other videos, the owner of the masters (either the creative, record labels, or distributors) can claim the music to monetize from it (or block it, if they so wish). Once claimed, the owner can collect the money with the assistance of a distributor or directly from YouTube, if they are approved by YouTube Content ID.

2. Use your YouTube channel to self-promote all the places to stream or purchase music.
This simple step can help generate more streams to your music, and in turn, generate more royalty income. As Sound Royalties has said in the past, “Income generated by YouTube is great, but it disappears much faster than publishing income.” This is because publishing income tends to have more of a shelf life. By driving consumers to other streaming platforms, it will also increase your royalties for master and sound recording income. Whenever possible, be sure to link to all the ways your music can be found in the description of each video and in the about section of your channel.

3. Make money from videos on your channel.
In recent years, the career of a YouTube Creator has become more mainstream. Users that post consistently and grow in popularity can eventually start profiting off the videos they make through advertising. There is a catch, though – in order to make a profit, you must have at least 1,000 subscribers and over 4,000 public watch hours in the past 12 months. Once you pass this threshold, you can join the YouTube Partner Program and begin monetizing videos.

Videos will generate royalties from ads placed on your content. You will then be able to collect money from the ad revenue. To collect money from YouTube, you will need to create and connect an AdSense account to your existing YouTube channel. YouTube sends out their payments on a monthly basis.

It is estimated that creators make $18 per 1000 ad views, which works out to $3-$5 per 1000 video views. So, for a music creative looking to expand their current YouTube presence, posting at-home concerts and behind-the-scenes videos can help grow that following if they are still looking to reach that monetization level or continue to boost views through current subscribers.


Sound Royalties can provide advances on YouTube income to creatives making more than $5,000 annually. Call us at 844-ALL-MUSIC or fill out the info form below, and someone will get back to you within the next business day.


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