YouTune Monetization

YouTube Monetization for Songwriters

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In our September Twitter chat (#DMchat), Downtown Music Publishing’s Chinua Green and Songtrust’s Jason Cerf fielded questions about how YouTube monetization works for songwriters.

Chinua Green
Chinua Green

Chinua Green is the Manager of Digital and Video Operations for Downtown Music Publishing where he is responsible for the day-to-day management of Downtown’s relationships with its digital partners in the States. Previously Downtown’s YouTube specialist, Green is an expert in emerging royalty trends and optimizing data distribution. Jason Cerf is the Publishing Operations Coordinator for Songtrust. The duo joined our September Twitter Chat to discuss YouTube monetization.

To view the entire chat transcript, visit this link. Below is a reformatted version of our discussion. To be notified about our upcoming chats, subscribe to our Facebook events!

Does YouTube only pay the songwriter for videos that use music?

C: Yes, music publishing royalties are paid to songwriters based on YouTube videos that use music.

J: That should not stop you from considering monetizing by uploading non-music focused content if that makes sense for your brand.

C: As a songwriter, you can collect mechanical royalties and performance royalties from YouTube in the US.

Do more views equal more money for each of the four different royalty recipients?

C: More views usually equals more money, but the real key to success is engagement and watch time, meaning audience retention. Engagement means liking, sharing, and commenting on the video. Encouraging engagement is more important than racking up views. This rule applies to all creators across YouTube.

What’s the most important thing that songwriters should know when getting started with YouTube monetization?

C: Feed the platform. As a creator, you have to be ready to produce a stream of engaging content.

J: YouTube wants you to succeed. They provide plentiful resources on channel strategy.

Do you need to be signed to a label or distributor to monetize your music as a songwriter?

J: The answer is no! If you write for other recording artists, it is definitely worth considering a music publisher specific service. Using a distributor can be very helpful. They put music in physical and digital stores, and then pay out royalties from purchases.

What is Content ID and why should songwriters participate?

J: Content ID is like a back-end Shazam for YouTube. It tells owners where their content is being used across all of YouTube. It is important for songwriters to get involved because music is used in so many different ways on YouTube. An estimated 40% of all YouTube content contains music.

C:  I have found this video to be helpful in explaining Content ID in layman’s terms.

What are some of the benefits of becoming a YouTube Partner for songwriters?

C: In addition to monetization, your can also control how your music is used.

J: YouTube is a collection of culture and content. If fans like your content, you can work with YouTube to engage a community.

Does YouTube pay publishing royalties worldwide? What if you’re only registered in the USA?

J: No. Usually direct payments are US. only. You can access global collection from a service like Songtrust. Songtrust provides access to a network of international royalty collection for songwriters.

What resources do you recommend for further tips and information?

Download this free eBook on The Business of Songwriting! Stay informed and vocal 🙂

Disc Makers’ marketing manager Lucy Briggs conducted this interview with Chinua Green, Manager of Digital and Video Operations for Downtown Music Publishing and Jason Cerf, Publishing Operations Coordinator for Songtrust. Follow them on Twitter @partyreport and @jason_cerf

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