Written by Lindsey Batista, Rock the Dream
Throughout the changing music industry, Youtube has stuck around as a huge platform, since its rise years ago. It’s also become a source of income for all kinds of creators, including musicians with huge audiences, as well as small and independent ones. If you associate with the latter, then be sure you’re making the most of your channel’s earning potential.
Most people know that as a free service, a large part of the money to be made on youtube comes from ad revenue. Your account must be set up correctly in order to receive your share. To do so, you should join the Youtube Partner Program through the creator studio, and connect an AdSense account. You’ll, then, get the revenue from ads for any videos you choose to monetize. This feature does require a minimum of 1000 subscribers, and 4,000 total watch hours in the past year.
If you use a distributor, you may also partake in the ad revenue from Youtube. Some distributors also use Content ID, which will direct the revenue back to you from any videos using your music not uploaded by you. There are also services-to-hire that will locate other videos not detected by Youtube, since they often miss around 40%.
So, all of this is only important once you have content or music generating a significant amount of views, as it takes a lot to add up to any substantial earnings. Your cut for views is even less than that for streaming services, at around $0.002 per view. This will come out to $1000-$2000 per million views, not to mention fees, shared ownership, and different kinds of ads that complicate things further.
If you’re not at this level of views yet, then focus on gaining more exposure to grow your following, and on other ways to monetize your channel. For starters, use your channel to promote your merch, tour dates, social media, and your songs on streaming services. Always have links in your video descriptions, but also take advantage of Youtube cards, which are the pop-up links you can add during the video.
Something else you can advertise is a crowdfunding campaign. This can be something like a Patreon account, where your viewers essentially make donations to fund more content they’ll enjoy. You can offer special access to content or accept requests for future videos as an incentive.
As you work on growing your subscribers and fanbase, you can also look for opportunities for branded or sponsored content, where a company will pay you directly for promoting them on your channel.
Think about your content in order to reach a point when you can collect ad revenue, and then start to increase it. Posting song audio or playing covers alone usually doesn’t amass views or a big following. Adding diverse content like vlogs, music videos, and behind-the-scenes videos will make your channel more interesting, thus gathering more views.
Also consider posting the types of videos that are most searched for, like instrument tutorials (for your own songs or others), and advice for musicians on things you’ve already accomplished. These will bring in viewers outside of just your music fanbase, and in turn drive up views and revenue.
Additionally, try to get your music uploaded in videos from other accounts. Encourage fans to make videos using you music. You can try something like creating a dance challenge or a contest for the best lip synch video.
Another way to drive up your numbers is to get on music curator channels, which will also help increase your fanbase. There are a ton of these channels of different sizes across genres. Usually there is an email listed for submitting music listed on their channel. They will post new music they like and fits their genre.
It may seem like a a lot of work for little reward, but once you start to get consistent views and a following, you can keep the money coming in by releasing new music and continuing to upload content. Youtube has helped many artists to make a living with their music, and it can help you, too, if you start today.