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Musicians: How to Monetize Your Music on YouTube 

by | Musician Marketing

Youtube is the most widely used online video streaming service today. Having your music and content on the platform is an excellent way to expose yourself to millions of daily viewers, listeners, and hopefully followers. Uploading your content to Youtube is very straightforward, and with the right approach, you can use the service to generate a healthy stream of passive income. This article will cover some practices that you can implement to make some money off your music through Youtube. We will also show you how to get your Youtube account approved for monetization and provide tips on increasing your Youtube channel’s user engagement. 

Types of Youtube Revenue? 

If you want to maximize your income stream on Youtube, you’ll first need to understand how Youtube generates revenue for itself and its contributors. There are two primary types of revenue stream through Youtube: 

1. Ad Revenue – This attributes to the majority of Youtube’s overall revenue. Advertisers will pay Youtube to run campaigns before or during a video’s playback. These videos can range from anywhere between 5 to 30 seconds. Advertisers can also purchase an ad window that is placed next to a video player for quick-ink access. 

2. Subscriber Revenue – Youtube Premium customers pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee to access a handful of features such as ad-less videos or the ability to save videos for offline viewing. 

How Can Your Music Get Used on Youtube? 

● Your own Artist content – Having a reputable Youtube channel in the modern-day means having a diverse arsenal of content to present to your viewers. Many producers or musicians use Youtube to showcase their music videos, festival or studio performances, or live stream viewers. You can also use your music as the background music for video press kits, self-made interviews, or production/studio sessions that viewers can access through your Youtube channel. 

● User-Generated Content – This method is also a convenient way to get your music to wanting ears. Other Youtube creatives may wish to use your music in their video. For example, someone could use your song as the intro to their make-up tutorial series or sports highlights package. Youtube’s Content Id keeps track of when somebody uses your music and sends you any ad revenue that comes from videos with your music in them. 

● Art Tracks – Much like Spotify or iTunes, You can utilize Youtube to exhibit any audio releases that you have. Art Tracks are videos that display the cover art of your respective release while your music plays in the background. These videos fall under the Youtube music service, which also has a premium option. Many Youtube users will search for a song on the website if they are already busy using an internet browser

instead of switching to their music streaming service. This means your music as an Art Track on Youtube has equal financial potential as it would on a regular music streaming service. 

● Merch Shelf – If your channel has been approved for monetization, Youtube may offer you the option of adding a Merch Shelf window to your video pages. This feature acts as a portal to any third-party retailers that stock your merchandising. If you’re an artist with flowers who support you in this way, you’ll want to get your channel set up with a merch shelf as soon as possible. 

What is Youtube Content ID? 

Youtube uses a Content ID to track and record all audio and visual content uploaded onto its platform. Any content that is uploaded gets scanned for a variety of identifiable assets or elements. For music, this could be a prominent chorus, riff, or drop in a song that makes it readily discernible. Every time your music gets used on Youtube through user-generated content, art tracks, or your videos, Youtube Content ID will instantly identify it and apply any revenue splits generated from streams or ad revenue. 

This system is also extremely beneficial in the fight against copyright infringement. Suppose another artist or user decides to use your music for their content without your permission. In that case, Youtube will remove the content from their platform and notify you of any further misuse of your content from that user. When you release music through a third-party distributor to Youtube Music, your song’s Youtube Content ID is automatically generated through that respective service. 

How Set Up Your Account for Monetization. You need to be a verified contributor to Youtube’s Partner Program to be eligible to make money off of your Youtube content. The Youtube Partner Program (YPP) uses Youtube Content to allow companies to place ad campaigns on or alongside your videos. The YPP also keeps track of all your streaming data and analytics and lets you receive income directly for any content you have uploaded without a third-party distributor. Below are the steps you need to take to qualify for the Youtube Partner Program. 

● Create Artist Account – Create an Artist account on Youtube. This will serve as your primary source of video streaming and content distribution on Youtube. 

● Get Your Numbers Up – This step is possibly the largest hurdle to overcome for new artists. You can only qualify for the YPP if your channel has over 1000 subscribers and 4000 public viewed hours per 12 month period. In short, you’ll need to spend quite some time and effort raising these statistics at the start of your channel, but user engagement tends to snowball with the right strategies once you’ve achieved this accolade with your artist account.

● Agree to Monetization – Once your Artist profile has been created, have a look through your settings menu. You should find a monetization section in these settings. You’ll be asked to grant Youtube permission to use your videos for ad placements. 

● Create Adsense Account – Create an AdSense account on Google. Much like the YPP, Adsense users metrics to find the ad campaigns best suited to the demographics that consume your content. 

● Set Ad Preferences – Your Adsense account comes with a few configurations that allow you to select target demographics for the ad content placed on your videos. You can adjust these according to the metric feedback that AdSense and YPP provide you with on user interactions. You can also choose to remove certain types of ads or brands from your videos if you wish to have them featured with your creative works. 


If you release your music through a third-party distributor such as Tunecore or CDBaby, you’ll be able to verify your Art Tracks every time you release through these services. Ensure that Youtube is on your list of online stores that you distribute to. Your distribution service will handle the collection of any ads, streams, or publishing revenue generated from views of these tracks on Youtube. 

Tips for effective monetization

Aside from Art Tracks, your music can be featured and monetized in various ways on Youtube. It merely needs to be clear enough to be picked up by Youtube’s Content ID to qualify for some form of revenue share from ads or streams. Here are some ways you can increase your Youtube Channel’s user engagement, as well as your track usage on the platform itself. 

1. Balance Quantity/Quality Ratios – Try to be strategic with your track placements on Youtube. You’ll want to feature your songs on videos in parts where they will catch users’ attention (such as an intro or outro to a studio session). If you release personal video content, make sure to link your viewers to other creative works on Youtube. If your videos are of low quality or substance, you’re less likely to maintain or grow your viewer base, so try to balance your video quality with your quantity of output. 

2. Edit Videos – When creating personalized videos such as interviews or studio sessions, remember to edit out any empty or redundant bits of audio or video. You’re more likely to keep viewers engaged with your content for longer by removing anything that would cause their attention spans to drift. The more time a user spends on our range, the more valuable you are to Youtube and advertisers. 

3. Covers Songs – Recording popular cover songs is a time-tested method to get listeners to discover your original content and build your subscriber base. Try experimenting with songs that are both relative to your sound and themes outside of your genre to diversify your fanbase. There are several online services like that can help you with the copyright paperwork that comes with releasing cover materials. 

4. Collaborate – Collaborations are a fantastic way for artists to boost their user base. When you collaborate with another artist and release through Youtube, your music and content will feature on their video pages, giving you access to a full pool of viewers/listeners that are more likely to subscribe to your content. 

Final Thoughts

Youtube has been responsible for many modern artists’ successes, and understanding the intricacies of the platform’s revenue streams is vital if you wish to monetize your music efficiently. Thanks for reading through this article on how to monetize your music on Youtube. We hope that this information puts on you the fast track to online musical fame and fortune.

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