YouTube Music Key Is Paying Me 10 Cents a Stream…

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YouTube royalties suck, according to endless statements shared with Digital Music News.  But royalties on YouTube’s subscription play, Music Key, don’t.  According to one indie label currently on the beta-stage service, Music Key royalties are now hitting 10 cents a stream.

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In the latest statement, 139 streams account for $14.16 in royalties, or a healthy 10.2 cents per stream.   Of course, YouTube isn’t saying anything, and we have no idea where these royalty rates will settle.  “Not sure what it means, only know what it paid me,” the indie label relayed.

More as we know more.

38 Responses

  1. Sarah

    It’d be swell if YouTube would actually be open and transparent about how their payments are calculated, rather than forcing people to speculate on pretty limited information. There’s no way to be certain as to why these numbers are so much higher than standard YT, if they reflect temporary circumstances (as I personally suspect) or are likely to be sustained long term.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      So, Sarah — when are we going to see your YouTube/iTunes/Spotify alternative?

      Like I said elsewhere, I’m not a Videscape believer anymore…

      Reply
      • Sarah

        OMG I’m so glad you asked! 🙂
        Our marketing website is going live tonight or tomorrow morning, and we’ll start reaching out to artists to get some feedback, give private demos, let artists play around with everything, etc… then in about 2-4 weeks we’ll be open for business.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          “Our marketing website is going live tonight or tomorrow morning”

          OK, now you need to post a link! 🙂

          [We did see your “open and transparent” comment above, you know… ]

          Reply
          • Sarah

            Absolutely, as soon as the site is live (right now there’s just a placeholder, and we don’t want that to be anyone’s first impression of us)

          • Sarah

            It most certainly is morning here still. 🙂 I will deliver today (soon!!), promise.

          • Anonymous

            Where — in Hong Kong? 🙂

            Looking forward to see your site…

          • Anonymous

            “It most certainly is morning here still”

            Enjoying your breakfast? 🙂

          • Anonymous

            GOOD MORNING!!!

            It’s now 06:10:48 in Hong Kong, and it’s a LOVELY day! 🙂

          • Anonymous

            “Sarah is a fraud.”

            Obviously. But a smart one. 🙂

    • LOL... Give It A Year...

      A year from now these will look like the same microdecimal math that is all streaming services… could these sample sizes be any smaller?

      Reply
  2. David

    Assuming that Music Key, like other streaming services, pays out some proportion of its revenue, what this shows is that the people who have signed up to it, hardly ever use it! The subscription is $10 a month, so unless Google/YT are subsidising it, a payout of 10 cents a stream implies an average of not more than 100 streams per user per month, or about 3 per day. If the proportion of revenue paid out is 70%, similar to Spotify, the usage rate is more like 2 per day.

    Reply
    • Versus

      This is the problem. They should not be paying a proportion of the revenue. They should be paying either a fixed rate, or at worst a hybrid rate that is a base + a proportion of revenue.

      Reply
      • JAIO

        This is the problem. They should not be paying a proportion of the revenue. They should be paying either a fixed rate, or at worst a hybrid rate that is a base + a proportion of revenue.

        LMAO. Spoken obviously by someone who’s not in business 😉

        Reply
  3. Anonymous

    “Music Key royalties are now hitting 10 cents a stream”

    …which obviously is good news.

    But the bad news is that nobody pays for Music Key. Which means it takes thousands of ordinary YouTube streams for every Music Key stream you get.

    And an ordinary YouTube stream is still worth $0.001 — not $0.1.

    Reply
  4. captain obvious

    and now we have jumped the shark and entered a world where everyone complains about the streaming payouts being TOO HIGH

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      No, these numbers just don’t have any meaning in the real world.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        Exactly. We’ve had this discussion on DMN already. Why are we having it again, Paul?

        Reply
        • Sarah

          Because it’s information? 🙂
          Streaming services are stingy with information, so the only way for non-insiders to work out what’s really going on is for individual participants – like this label – to share whatever little pieces of information they can.

          For instance, YouTube Music Key is still in a 6 month closed beta. On February 5, 2015, an indie artist shared a royalty statement from MK showing payments of 5.4 cents per stream. Now, March 4, this indie label reports MK payments of 10.2 cents per stream.

          My understanding is that the 6-month closed beta is free to participants, with YT MK presumably paying out based on what the payments would be if the users were paying the normal price (set to be $9.99, although beta users will get a discount if they sign up after the beta trial). Let’s assume they’re currently paying out $9.99 based on the full expected per-user revenue. If so, the higher payments per stream mean that the total amount being paid out (# of beta participants * expected monthly subscription price of $9.99) is being split over fewer streams – which, in turn, means that the beta users are streaming less music over MK than they were a month ago.

          To be fair, I’m making a number of assumptions and we have no solid way of verifying them unless YouTube decides to open up. But based on what we know about how streaming business models work, in combination with this new piece of information, we can make some educated guesses. In this case, because of the fact that MK is still in closed beta and that I (despite following music & tech news pretty closely) haven’t heard much about it recently, my educated guess is that user engagement is slowing down, leaving the same sum to be allocated amongst far fewer streams.

          My point: factual information can be helpful even if it doesn’t necessarily merit a new conversation.

          Reply
  5. Anonymous

    I don’t understand this. Are people paying for it now? I thought it was a closed beta with free accounts given. If so, is the payment coming out of what those people WOULD BE paying (as opposed to what they actually are paying)?

    I mean, either way these numbers are absolutely meaningless until it publicly launches and we see whether or not people will pay for it–or if people will just stay free and watch all the full, newly-existing, high quality catalogs on the free version.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      “Are people paying for it now? I thought it was a closed beta with free accounts given. If so, is the payment coming out of what those people WOULD BE paying (as opposed to what they actually are paying)?”

      Good questions.

      Reply
      • Jeff Robinson

        The way I understand this, anyone with a Google Play account has the 6-month beta Youtube service at this time.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          So you’re saying the money comes from Google Access All Music Play, or whatever it’s called?

          Reply
          • Jeff Robinson

            Yes. Google appears to be struggling with the ‘branding’ of this product.

  6. Anonymous

    This would hold more weight for me if the screenshot of the statement didn’t say “Youtube SUBCRIPTION store”

    Reply

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