My Songs Got 151,781 Plays on YouTube. I Received $10…

YouTube: Please don't be evil to musicians!
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One million YouTube views generate about $65.  One single view boils down to $0.000065.  How is a musician supposed to make a living with this story of payout?

PJ Wassermann is a composer, producer and performer of chillout, psyTrance and electronica music.

A couple of years ago I accidentally discovered on YouTube that somebody had uploaded the trance remix of MUH! by Matterhorn Project that I had made in the 90s.  It had 3.5 millions views!  Before I could try to monetize my music the uploader’s channel was removed by YouTube.

By the end of 2013, YouTube made their agreement with Swiss copyright society SUISA and thus finally became open to Swiss authors.  By the end of January 2014 I was a YouTube partner and started uploading all my content and my so far 28 videos. But above all I was able to monetize the many third party uploads of my music.

Or so I thought.  Because it soon became clear that all my views added to next to nothing in my income reports.

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151,781 views with 681,104 minutes playtime in eleven months generated an income of 10.02 US Dollars!  One million views would generate about $65, one single view boils down to $0.000065.

How is a musician supposed to make a living with this kind of payout?

Additionally YouTube’s payout logic is difficult to understand.  Why do 20,926 views of “9. Best of Chillout…” pay $2.96 but 17,594 views of “funny cows singing mix” pay only $0.28?  I don’t know.  The same song under the name of “La chanson de la vache Techno remix” pays $2.20 for 24,908 views.  7,498 views “MUH! by Matterhorn Project (original 80ies video)”, same song again, pay nothing at all. This is weird. “High Energetic Core” with 3,651 views delivers even only $0.01.  Ridiculous.  At least it’s OK that “PJ Wassermann – I Am One” doesn’t pay because I wanted to keep it free from advertising.

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Google, please don’t be evil to musicians!

A lot of musicians have recently complained about low payments from Pandora and Spotify. To me it looks that YouTube is even worse. They allow anybody to upload music that they don’t have any rights to and the payout for the rights holders is extremely meager. “Don’t be evil” is the formal corporate motto of Google, YouTube’s mother company.  So Google, please don’t be evil to musicians!

This is the music that once had 3.5 millions views:

And this is the original video of the same song that doesn’t pay out anything:

Finally, this is the music I’m making today and that I haven’t monetized so far:

155 Responses

  1. Name2

    Yeah, well “Moo” strikes me as the kind of novelty YT that would spread by word of mouth to make someone’s workday more giggly. (“Hey! Cow moos with dance beats!”)

    So that vid was in competition with … LOLcats. Good luck monetizing that substantially.

    The vid you’ve yet to “monetize”: is that LSD-experiment audio track and video content free license/public domain?

    • Remi Swierczek

      WOW! Normal humans, those who pay for the things in life, musicians or music industry DOES NOT NEED
      YOUTUBE. Venue with VEVO for folks with to much time on hand.

      Let’s convert Radio and streaming to $100 billion dollar discovery based music store.
      SIMPLE, and YOUTUBE could become whole seller to both and payout center to everyone!

      $50B YOUTUBE as a hub of $100B music industry would be much better than today’s music pulverizer and could double GOOGLE revenues and bring happiness to everyone!

      ALL @ just 39¢ a tune paid @ the discovery moment!

      • Buddy Zappa

        This is just about the best solution I’ve ever read…. Smart thinking…. My solution is start a REVOLUTION and EVERYBODY (major & indie) take down ALL their free streaming, and free dowloads, & Youtube video’s and bankrupt them… Seize power and control… and dominate the internet as individual store owners… NOONE NEEDS YOUTUBE or PANDORA or SPOTIFY or ANY of them!!!

        • PJ Parker

          That might happen…in what galaxy? Not being snide at anyone, the problem is we ourselves are so obsessed with “exposure” THAT WE HAVE ALLOWED this nonsense to proliferate. Musicians everywhere around me play for free, for “exposure”. And club owners now EXPECT not only that the music is free, but that the musicians bring the ‘house’ so that they may spend for food and drink, and still the music is supposed to be free. I get Google alerts daily that my music can be downloaded for free, or free mp3s or what ever from any new pop up streaming site. We have been perceived as willing to do it all for nothing, so nothing is what we have gotten.

          • BTDT

            Thank You, PJ Parker. I’ve been saying this for years to my peers that the sucky scene situation of low and free paying gigs, and most every other aspect of indie music (play mellotron on my album and I’ll give you “credit”, a free copy, a bumper sticker and a tee shirt to advertise ME for “donating” your skills, your gear, your time, your expenses….). It’s sad but true. We say we love music and believe it is valuable to help the world, but so many spend more on beer, dope, TV, video games, vaping, tatts, etc. etc. than they’d EVER consider valuing a fellow artist/musician enough to make a sacrifice for the uplifting of the other to the betterment of the whole artistic community. “But NO, man, it’s ALL about the MUSIC, man… but all you care about is MONEY, man, how lame…”. So the clubs and venues “hire” players with day jobs to host “open mics” to get more free music in the form of freak shows with newbies, wanna be’s and never be’s or don’t give a crap be’s as the whole scene flounders since WE DON’T VALUE OUR SELVES, OUR CRAFT AND THE MASSIVE CUMULATIVE INVESTMENT THAT OUR FAMILIES, FRIENDS AND OURSELVES have made in time and money, as well as personal cost to others for putting up with our dreams. WE spend thousands to get good and do what we do, but since so many underwrite their weekend warrior gigs with 9-5 jobs, music is just for fun, for the love of it, and has no value beyond “my weekend recreation”. ——– I have nothing against part time or hobby players, some are amazingly good at what they do. BUT WHY devalue the whole scene for everyone else????? Why feed into the vampiric sucking of the clubs that only use music to get people in to buy food and beer and don’t give a crap about what’s babbling from the stage? WE create the scene with our passion and our art, and WE and our music have value, as human beings who need to eat and live and take care of our families – at very least! — It’s historically verifiable – the arts have value and are valued enough to have generated a vast multi-billion dollar arts industry world wide – in the REAL world. It’s waayyyy bigger than any noble but part time player with a 9-5 who’s in it for the fun of reliving glory days before being absorbed into the job and family american dream struggle. — There is a HUGE amount of serious artists who would love to earn a fair part or whole of their income from doing what they love – so why are musicians so naive or careless or selfish to not care at all for the health of the whole local, cyber and indie scene about fair pay for fair play? We do it to ourselves and create the habit of consumers, be they freebie downloaders or venue owners, or even our fellow players who want to “hire” us to help their projects, but pay NOTHING to their fellow artist while pissing away their extra day job cash on THINGS that don’t feed back into making living better for fellow humans/artists. HA! And you write songs about freedom and love and sing against corruption and all sorts of abuses in society, while you give away that album of yours that your “best bud” busted her ass on to give you her killer guitar chops and bg vocals while she gets NOTHING she can use to pay her bills and put food on the table or feed back into her own art (which you don’t have the time to support in any way, btw). —- YEP! It’s our own stupid fault.

          • Kyle Hobbs

            Im not payed for half the crap I listen too. Still I’m expected to listen to it for free. My ears have to work hard to process all the sounds. I need money I need money.

          • Mary Ann Farley

            The problem is that eons ago, the music industry never worked with the legislature to set up LAWS to govern the distribution of music in the same way the movie studios did. Back in the 1990s, because of copyright laws, video stores used to be raided by the FBI regularly for renting or selling bootlegs. (I worked in the industry back then.)

            That’s why when Napster came along, no one did a damn thing…because there were no laws on the books to enforce. The only set royalties were on radio, and in movies/TV. Any other music distribution was the wild frontier where people did what they wanted with the intellectual property called popular music.

            For reasons I’ll never understand, the big music companies never had the smarts to do what the movie studios did, and that’s why you now see sites like Spotify paying one tenth of one penny for a play. I saw my royalty reports recently, and they make me sick.

            I hope that someday, musicians can put their competitiveness aside and truly unionize for the betterment of all, like what actors did with SAG. It’s not undoable. How wonderful would it be for clubs to have to pay performers BY LAW a minimum, instead of–as someone else said–expecting the musicians to bring them customers? It’s all ass backwards and exists in no other arts industry…in movies, in theaters, in art galleries. In the latter, it’s the job of the gallery to provide the potential customers while the artist simply creates the art. The internet has changed a lot of this, of course, but you get my drift.

            The royalties on these streaming sites are absolutely criminal. I’ve caught glimpses of stories saying that things are changing, but not on my royalty reports yet.

        • ugh

          That’s smart–tell your customers who spend money, “yeah, we know you like streaming music but we’re just going to force those sites to shut down. Also could you go ahead now and buy music in a format you don’t prefer because I don’t make enough money?”

          Your customers only give a shit to a point. If you want to get more money for music, you need to eliminate most of your competition. It’s a buyer’s market right now, and that drives down prices. When everyone who can play guitar thinks they’re a songwriter and has the means to publish music, and the industry itself is pumping out Tim’s of music, you get excess supply. Y’all are getting paid what the market will give you. Change the supply or change your product.

          • Giovanni G

            Ugh… you couldn’t be more right.. the market is just saturated with run-of-the-mill musicians. To get ahead, you have to do something that really stands out from the crowd. And in a way, that is the way it should be. If you’re really serious and passionate about playing, then do something that is unique and sets you apart from the everyday drivel. Force yourself to be the best you can be. I for one do my part to support musicians who go that extra mile. If I like what they do, I will go out of my way to see them live and buy a cd direct from them because that’s the best way to support them.. buying direct. The last I checked, YT is NOT the place to make money but if you want some exposure, there’s no better free and easy way. So quit your whining, suck it up, get tough, be inventive or get out.

          • DEE

            thats right!!you gotta sale music in a form the poeple may not like but they have to buy it because its the only way they can here the latest music, movie, or games we the artist have to make it law . dont release it all on youtube or the internet release it on the new FD3 #1 piracy protected and retractable USB drive more convenient then cds dvds and release your free single that way you generate money sharing a ad with youtube while promoting your physical 1g to 64 g FD3 drives album/video movie/soundracks. do ya get it NOW POEPLE THATS HOW WE THE TALENTED CAN STILL WHEN PHYSICAL SALES CAN BE HACKED

          • Agree

            We need all industries to be a buyers market. Enough with monopolies. Or with dudes self-entitling to money because they are artists, they make beats.

        • You are an idiot

          What you say is stupid and ignorant. Before there was Youtube there was already a music industry where 99% of the artists never made it, or never made any money!

      • R

        Not gonna happen if u really think mj died cause of accident. YouTube spotify were for artist to make there own without the label so the labels invested and now own the payouts so no matter what. U sogn with them or not the vet thier cut. Straight b.s.

    • steven corn

      I think that the most important comment on this thread is that Youtube doesn’t claim to pay on a per view basis at all. They pay pay when they receive money for an ad on your video. Typically that’s a CPC (a pay per click). So the more views your video gets, the more ads are placed and, hopefully, the more ads are clicked on. It’s theoretically possible to have a million views of an video with ads on each one and have very little or no ad revenue generated. In addition, the rates that are charged for the ads vary considerably on the content, time of day, and a variety of other variables most of which are unknown to the content providers uploading the videos.

      So, it’s very hard to do a simple equation of “revenue divided by views” to get an accurate payment rate. Not only is this rate totally different from other forms of music consumption (e.g., radio, downloads, etc.), it changes from day to day and hour-to-hour.

      I’ve always advised artists to direct fans to Spotify or other freemium services if they want their fans to listen to an entire song for free. Those services can often pay rates 10x what Youtube pays. But without exception, artists want their fans to see their videos. I can understand that. Yet it’s hard to have your cake and eat it too.

      Perhaps the only thing that is clear here is that if you write anything about Youtube on DMN, it will generate a lot of replies which indicates the sore spot YT has now occupied. After years of artists being amazed that they have this new revenue generating system that is free for them to use, they are now revolting against the system.

      Reminds me of a great Borscht belt joke about how bad the food was at the hotels in the Catskills. “The food was so bad and the portions were also much too small.” I think that describes the YT debate perfectly.

      • YouTube

        Content is value and should be paid for, end of story. And the issue is simple, YouTube isn’t paying a fair compensation.

        • DT

          What is fair compensation? If YouTube only makes money on a music video when there are ad clicks, why should they pay out more than that? YouTube isn’t commissioning these artists for their content, the artists are uploading these videos of their own volition.

          • ED

            Well, the problem is that any third party (any user on youtube) can upload your music to Youtube, and you are supposed to get payed for it. So, you are not really in control anyway.

        • Joe

          Youtube is not a very profitable part of Google. The little money they do generate they share with contributors. That’s more than other video sharing sites can claim

        • You are an idiot

          Complete bullshit. Nobody is entitled to any money, you self entitled prick. Otherwise we would all be filming our cats and living like rockstars, you fool.

        • Pretentious prick

          Content is NOT value. Content means shit. Everyone can make content. Everyone can learn guitar and play in their local indie band some cheap 3-chord songs. Artists are pretentious pricks that think they can do something that no one else can.

  2. Anonymous

    “A lot of musicians have recently complained about low payments from Pandora and Spotify. To me it looks that YouTube is even worse. ”

    I have been screaming this for years. Youtube on the user side is also totally free, frictionless, and available on every mobile device. They are the single biggest threat to the music industry.

    • Bass

      Once again, the video component screwing up the audio. Shades of MTV…

    • Anonymous

      “They are the single biggest threat to the music industry”

      I don’t think that was true until YouTube changed everything in June 2014.

      Until then, YouTube was in fact a blessing:

      You could upload — and monetize — short, un-cannibalizing clips and you could use ContentID to monetize UGC, but you were free to make exclusive releases on iTunes and elsewhere.

      Now it’s over, and the industry needs a YouTube alternative asap.

      • Demarcus

        look up fd3000 this is whats going to happen if we dont get are fair pay for the play. there is a new physical sales solution that is more convenient then the CDs or DVDs (FD3 drive) no one can duplicate your stuff as quick as they could with a CD/DVD because this device is a piracy protection drive and we mite have a law suit against google chrome for trying to copy a little bit. i only got 300 dollars for 300,000 views. youtube they didnt do the music or put any money in. we should at least get .25 cent on each view that has a comercial because you gotta pay cable to play youtube we should get a cut there to

    • Name2

      I have been screaming this for years. Youtube on the user side is also totally free, frictionless, and available on every mobile device. They are the single biggest threat to the music industry.

      If this is being set up as a thunderdome situation, I’m rooting for YouTube.

      But hey. It’s been fun, music industry. Call me!

    • Roni Griffith

      Its so crazy to see what is taking place in the music industry and how you tube has become such a threat to the music industry , gluttons of greed .
      I was a disco artist in the 80s when you actually got paid and signed with great Record Companies, that appreciated and took care of you. Yes we got paid well for our talent, writing and performances. Now it is a wreck, so much talent that sees nothing, not a penny. Youtube is the biggest rip off . Laws and Regulations need to be strengthen, period.

    • Anonymous

      It’s far worse. First of all, it’s essentially a massive music Pirate Bay, both in illegal uploads and illegal rippers. At least Spotify and Pandora do not allow user uploads or ripping.

      • Anonymous

        It’s far worse. First of all, it’s essentially a massive music Pirate Bay, both in illegal uploads and illegal rippers. At least Spotify and Pandora do not allow user uploads or ripping.

        I says pardon??

        hahha wow, anything online is easily rippable, its a massive blackhole screw scam job, unless you the one scamming, then its glorious and great… once it goes to 1’s and 0’s, its over, period… photon encryption is the only chance, tied to hardware, with keys shared somehow, which is the catch cause how do you share a digital key without quantum encrypting that with its own key?? thats the hold up…

        and guess what, when that gets poppin, sorry to say, its only going to benefit the majors and 1% top gunners anyways… you roll with the 1% else you play the doormat position, no amount of show smoke lying b.s. trickery pr gimmickery will be able to dupe enough people to continue for too much longer…

        its wake up and suck it up times people, at least we aint in some trech with bullets whizzing over watching fellow humans die in the thousands all around us, so thats good… be thankful for it…

        look people, get over it, its one huge blackhole surveillance cop fest slimebucket pirate scam ripoff job, its over, thats the reality, youre either a cop or a criminal when it comes to the internet, anyone else trying some legit business building is a target for criminals else a possible terrorist for cops, thats the way it is, the free net music dream is over, never was born, im so sawwy…



  3. Andy

    We’ve had 5.5 million views and earned $345, which is about the same per view rate.

  4. JTVDigital

    YouTube does not “pay per view”.
    Videos are monetized with advertisements (pre-roll, clickable…)
    There is no direct correlation between the number of views and the money received from ads.

    • frank990

      but there is a correlation between the business model where youtube creates a platform where its users are free to upload infringing content, at which point youtube claims that it has no control over what its users upload, but thank you anyway we sell advertising on top of the content and keep all the revenue for ourselves. This seems to me to be a familiar business model. Its called Piracy. (notwithstanding the concept that with content id, FOR THE ARTISTS WHO SIGN THE NEW MUSIC KEY AGREEMENT, the content id will serve to cause ads to be placed on both “legal” and infringing content that the creator will share in the revenue) As of the new deal, artists who do not sign the agreement are free to use content id to identify which videos qualify for the wack a mole of the day, where the successful non music key artist can spend a substantial part of their life sending in DCMA takedown notices in a futile effort to keep their material off youtube (while youtube runs ads on all those wack a mole candidates until they get the DCMA notice from the rights holder, keeping all the ad revenue to themselves) If youtube can identify infringing videos through content id and monetize for their music key artists, then they certainly can also use content id to identify infringing video for their non music key artists. But they don’t. Because piracy pays well.

      • DEE

        ha ha very good look up Nick downing ideabuyers, they have a new device called FD3 drive that will be in every store the piracy protected physical sales solution of the new age.

    • Steve

      youtube pays based on click throughs of ads- I’ve been paid about $245 on close to 300K views of an instructional video

  5. Dave 5000

    Anyone here thinking they can or could ever make money off YouTube with one song every few months is delusional. YouTube ads are set by what companies are willing to pay. Unless you can put up content every week don’t cry about not getting paid. YouTube wasn’t built on the back of musicians.

    Work on building up a fanbase. That should be every musician’s #1 priority. If you don’t have a fanbase and refuse to embrace new business models which are now the standard you will never make money.

    • Anonymous

      “YouTube wasn’t built on the back of musicians”

      Then I’m sure Google won’t mind we’re removing our content.

      • Paul Resnikoff

        One research estimate pegged music content at more than half of all YouTube views. But even if it’s collectively 25%, you see the issue.

    • Anonymous

      oh great, this site is now infested with Google apologists.

    • JTVDigital


      With 67 subscribers to his channel and the most viewed video having less than 7,000 views, how can it be expected to make any kind of money?

      DMN with all due respect, these kind of posts are a joke.
      Yes unknown artists don’t make money on YouTube, why would they?
      It is said he had a video with 3+ million views, that suddenly “disappeared”, why? how? Would it be possible to investigate a bit before publishing what people send you? Sure if the views came from bots the video was certainly removed at some point…

      Then “How is a musician supposed to make a living with this kind of payout?”
      Wait, who is seriously expecting to make a living from YouTube videos?

      “By the end of 2013 YouTube made their agreement with Swiss copyright society SUISA and thus finally became open to Swiss authors”
      This is completely unrelated from video monetization issues, what was apparently the initial topic of the article here.
      This is not because there were no financial agreements between the local collecting society and YT that Swiss authors could not get their songs available on YouTube, this is a meaningless statement that mixes up everything (songwriter/publisher rights and master rights).

      Then where are these figures coming from? Does he have access to the YouTube CMS for monetizing third party (UGC) content? It’s hard to believe given the very small weight this artist seems to have on YouTube.

      Again this is not about being an advocate for any tech giants, but all of this lacks precision and details, the end result being a confusing message spreading the usual “tech companies are evil” theories…

      As you know I run a distribution service and I can tell you there are artists (not superstars) who make a very decent income on YouTube, even though it’s not the main purpose for being on YouTube, the goal is getting more visibility and increase online reach.
      More than 50% of the music searches happen on YouTube, and this shall not be forgotten…

    • DP

      oh, FFS if I hear “embrace new business models” one more time…

    • R.S.

      I very much doubt if Dave is a working musician … otherwise he would know that there is no viable business model for working musicians at the moment.

  6. tcooke

    its a f*king circus. i cant imagine an ad getting clicked on anyway. this all a f*king joke. during previous recessions, people spent more on entertainment. this past recession people spent more on retail, clothes, phones, beats headphones, because entertainment is not perceived as a good value.

    • Versus

      Good point. Who actually clicks on ad? At most, the ad might function as making the viewer remember the name of a product, but it’s unlikely the viewer will click the ad. After all, they came there to watch the music video, not an ad.

  7. tcooke

    during previous recessions, people spent more on entertainment. this past recession people spent more on retail, clothes, phones, beats headphones, because entertainment is not perceived as a good value.

  8. Sarah

    If you could choose a price per stream/play for your own work, what would it be?

    • DNog

      There isn’t a realistic answer to this. Hence the issues at hand. The ability to stream music for free destroys the whole system.

      • Sarah

        Perhaps. But any possible solution starts with an answer to “If you could choose a price per stream/play for your own work, what would it be?”

        Also, that’s a bit of a defeatist attitude. I understand how you got there, but chin up!

        The system isn’t destroyed. It just needs some serious redesigning. 🙂

        (I know, I know, I seem crazy. But if “normal” is to simply accept that the whole system is irreparably destroyed for artists, I’m good with being “crazy.”)

        • GGG

          I think the best way to look at it is understanding the issue of streams vs downloads, which right now financially is about 120-1. In other words, people don’t like streaming pay because it’s so much lower than a buy, and to a degree cannibalizes them. So how can those two be reconciled? Realistically, everyone knows we’re not going to hit 99 cent streams, but where’s that middle ground. I think it’s anywhere from about 20-40 plays. I listen to a ton of music so my per song play count tends to be low for a lot of stuff, but if I get an album I really dig, I can easily hit 20 plays in a year, often in much less time.

          So streams at a minimum of about 2-4 cents would be more than acceptable for most people, I think.

          • Anonymous

            “So streams at a minimum of about 2-4 cents would be more than acceptable for most people, I think”

            You and I have discussed this more times than I care to remember, but we can definitely agree on this.

            In fact, I think most people would be OK with 1 cent.

            I would…

          • GGG

            I’d be fine with a penny too, I just decided to aim high haha

          • Sarah

            That is good news, indeed.

            So – as we aren’t artists – we approached this exact question from a consumer’s perspective: “how much would you pay per stream/play?”

            Our answer was 2-4 cents on average. This is a popular range amongst many consumers, we discovered.

            If artists want to make more and consumers are willing to pay more, why are we stuck in systems that prevent us from getting to a mutually satisfactory outcome?

          • Anonymous

            “If artists want to make more and consumers are willing to pay more”

            Whoa, let’s stop right there — consumers are not willing to pay more!

            In fact, they are not willing to pay anything at all for music videos. You said this clever thing about accepting what you can’t change, and this is one of them.

            You’re competing with YouTube’s free service here. If you charge anything — even a cent per million views — you won’t succeed.

          • Name2

            You want to charge me to watch your music video on YT?

            You can die with your secrets.

            There’s plenty of kitty videos to keep me occupied. Clearly, the music industry now has to kill all the world’s kittens to support their business model. Good luck with that.

          • Sarah

            LOL. That’s one position. Fortunately, not all people share it (although some cat videos are awfully cute).

            Like I said, not everyone will pay – that is true of absolutely everything in the world. Only people who value a given thing will pay for it. Clearly, you’re not someone who values music videos, and there’s nothing wrong with that. To each his own.

            Artists should ignore you completely.

            I’m sure you’re a wonderful person, but you just don’t matter to artists – just like a 90 year old grandmother doesn’t matter to Nike.

          • Name2

            Awesome. So you’ll be leaving YouTube alone? Because just like blank CDs, YT has more uses than just being a Taylor Swift delivery system.

          • Sarah

            Nah, don’t want to mess with YouTube. Besides being huge, it has its merits.

            It’s one thing to take a cute video of your pet with your phone and put it on YouTube. That probably should be free.

            It’s another to spend lots of time and money to create a music video and put it on YouTube. Just like you wouldn’t work for free, neither should professional artists.

          • Monarch

            Music videos were originally advertising for the artist. They were meant for the artist to get exposure and were originally meant to be free. Like a Billboard for a product! That has been the case since the beginning.

          • Anonymous

            “You want to charge me to watch your music video on YT?”

            I most certainly do not. 🙂

            Now, I’m truly excited to see what Sarah comes up with, but her plan is simply not realistic. More and more holes and flaws appear as we talk.

            In a way, I’m relieved. My money is on Tom Oswald and Videscape for the following reasons:

            1) It’s going to be free.
            2) It’s a dedicated video service. Not a video service + everything else, such as iTunes, Spotify, etc.
            3) It’s created by artists. This means they don’t have to ask about basic stuff like embedded videos.
            4) The developers are realistic, they know how the market works.

          • Sarah

            You know what? It’s great that people are trying. And the truth is, no one knows what will work.

            As for flaws in my plan – that’s primarily because I haven’t yet told you our plan. 🙂

          • Anonymous

            Feel free to shock me, haha!

            But again, a YouTube alternative behind a paywall — it’s just not going to happen. YouTube is trying as we speak, as you very well know, and it’s not going to end well though they seem to have it all; infra-structure, brand, licensing. Everything except goodwill, in fact.

            And a YouTube/iTunes/Spotify alternative isn’t going to happen under any circumstances.

            Unless you’re Netflix or Apple, of course.

          • Sarah

            I do, and I will 🙂

            But seriously, another YouTube – while a great short term solution and I super hope you get one – is honestly not progress for the music industry. It’ll keep all of the problems of YouTube, only go by a different name. Everything will be fine and dandy until New YouTube decides it wants to make more money, and uses its market power to make it happen by coercing artists into things they don’t want. Repeat ad infinitum.

            When you hear what we’re actually doing, I promise you will think we’re nuts and totally unrealistic. And you’re right, most truly innovative or bold endeavors fail. But if we succeed, it will genuinely be significant progress for the music industry, especially for independent artists. That makes it worth the risk.

            Had Henry Ford asked people what they wanted, they would have said “a faster horse.” He didn’t, and we got cars. We’re not giving anyone just another YouTube. 🙂

          • Anonymous

            “We’re not giving anyone just another YouTube”

            That’s what we want, though. That and a faster horse. 🙂

            Seriously, I’m certainly not saying you’re nuts — on the contrary, you’re clearly very smart.

            But that doesn’t mean you understand the market.

          • Sarah

            Well, that’s why Videscape is here 🙂

            But I’m not sure why you think Videscape has any more chance of success than all of the other YouTube alternatives. Would love to know what makes it different for you.

            For that matter, what are your thoughts on Vessel? Sure, it’s a subscription service but it’s also clearly planning on a substantial ad-supported side to rival YouTube. They have plain designs on YouTube’s traffic.

          • Anonymous

            I didn’t know Vessel was subscription until I got a mail the other day and clicked the link.

            Again, I have no use for subscription services so I didn’t sign up and can’t comment on it.

            As for Videscape — you saw my list, and I don’t have much to add. I ‘talked’ to Tom Oswald here a few times, and his project, while obviously in beta, seems solid to me.

            I’ve no idea whether it will succeed, but I haven’t seen any of the usual warning signs — and I do know this:

            There is a market for a ‘new’, free YouTube.

            Subscription sounds nice in theory but it doesn’t work: You want videos — and songs, for that matter — to go viral, and that’s just not possible when you hide them behind a paywall.

          • ghost

            Yes Google has market share right now, but so did AOL (a stranglehold) Yahoo etc. This giant overgrown bully will fail, as did all the others who thought they were invincible and could determine who gets what…through force of will and tricks. You can bet I am taking my game elsewhere besides Google. They do not play fair, they DO NOT want to play fair, they are evil and I am done with them. I am liking this new beta vidscape. I am signing up and uploading videos. I have had enough of google and their games. One thing that has not been mentioned is their manipulation of video views, I have a site where it counts the number of people that click the link to google. I have thousands of clicks from that website to youtube….and youtube seems to have forgotten how to count video views….this one particular video ( there are others) has been stuck on 69 views for the last year. As long as we click on google and pay into their coffers with our free talent, we will never get a fair deal. I am so done with their let them eat cake attitude. Viva la revolution!
            So lets stop bitching and moaning and show some support for other video platforms. The only way they can work is with participation. My next step is to remove all of my videos that get thousands of hours of view on youtube. Lat year I made a whopping 180USD. Thousands of hours and nothing to the creator. Google get paid on some of that advertisement irregardless if someone clicks a link.
            youtube and google yeah I am done, so beyond done.

          • Sarah

            First, with all due respect, you’re factually incorrect. People pay all of the time – iTunes, Spotify, Patreon (where they often pay much more than they have to), Bandcamp. If you were right, these companies literally wouldn’t exist. But they do exist, which means that there is a significant number of people who will pay even when there is a free option.

            Second, I suspect you’re looking at this the wrong way. You seem to be asking “will everyone pay?” Of course not everybody will pay. But that’s not unique to music, it’s true of everything. Starbucks doesn’t need everyone who sits in its shops or uses its wifi to pay; Starbucks only needs enough people to pay sufficient amounts to meet its income goals.

            The question is not “will everyone pay?” (The answer to that question is always no.)

            The question is “will enough people pay sufficient amounts for me to meet my minimum income goals?” Rather than focusing on the many who won’t pay, you should be looking at the many people who will pay (see my first point).

            Third, thank you for sharing your response. It’s a position that I know many artists share.

            The internet changed the music industry. That happens. The problem – in my opinion – stems more from the fact that the industry didn’t really adapt to the new set of rules. I think music has a very bright future indeed, but in order to get there we’re going to have to redesign the industry to be “internet friendly.”

            For example, it’s silly to fight streaming. Streaming is now a “rule,” so to speak. The question is “how do we design a new system that we like while playing by the rule of streaming?” Same thing for YouTube – “how do we make a system that works when YouTube exists?”

            Those are the questions we asked when we designed our platform. You’ll see that there are actually some good answers. 🙂

          • Anonymous

            “First, with all due respect, you’re factually incorrect. People pay all of the time – iTunes, Spotify, Patreon (where they often pay much more than they have to), Bandcamp. If you were right, these companies literally wouldn’t exist.”

            Huh? When was the last time you paid for a music video on iTunes or Spotify? 🙂

            Let me repeat: Consumers are not willing to pay anything at all for music videos. You’re competing with YouTube’s free service, and you’ll never succeed if you charge as much as one single cent for what I can get for free on YouTube.

            Then you mention Patreon which is another kettle of fish: Fans are indeed willing to support their favorite artists, and that’s just awesome.

            But you’re not building another Patreon, are you? I hope not. Patreon is a gorgeous company and we don’t need anybody to make their work harder.

            Sarah, don’t invent the wheel. We already have iTunes and the world is full of sinking Spotify’s. What we don’t have anymore is a free, open, unrestricted YouTube.

            And that’s your chance.

            Nobody’s going to see it if you launch a YouTube alternative behind a paywall.

          • Sarah

            Okay, we’ve run into a problem here: I can’t say exactly what we’re doing yet.

            We’re not just a YouTube alternative. We will have much of YouTube’s functionality, but we’re not just a YouTube copycat.

            As for a free, open, unrestricted YouTube…. technically, yes, you will be able to use us as a “free, open, unrestricted YouTube” – but not for at least 6 months because we don’t think that’s the best business model, so we haven’t chosen to focus on it.

            Patreon is a gorgeous company. We’re not competing with them right now, but someone else probably will.

            I’m sorry that I can’t be more open at this time, it’s rather frustrating. Your comments are incredibly helpful, however, so I hope you’ll keep sharing 🙂

          • Anonymous

            “As for a free, open, unrestricted YouTube…. technically, yes, you will be able to use us as a “free, open, unrestricted YouTube” – but not for at least 6 months because we don’t think that’s the best business model, so we haven’t chosen to focus on it.”

            So it’s subscription only for the first 6 months — but you’re considering embedding immediately.

            How is that going to work?

            Meet Pete: He’s a Twitter user. He just clicked a video thumbnail in a tweet. What happens? Can he watch the video, or will he be greeted by something like this:

            FIRST NAME
            LAST NAME
            NEW PASSWORD
            CREDIT CARD #

          • Sarah

            LOL No, silly, we’d never let that happen. Also, we’re not subscription only (personally, I hate subscriptions). See? I told you it’s really quite difficult to discuss details like this right now. 🙂

            Sincerely, thank you for being so challenging. It’s tremendously helpful, and I hope you’ll continue to do it… but maybe with an open mind. After we launch, I’d love to have a chat and give you a confidential explanation of what we’re doing.

            As for my not being “in” the music industry…. I think that’s a good thing. It means that we don’t have any biases in favor of existing practices or institutions, we can look at things objectively and with fresh perspective. I think it also makes us incredibly attentive to what people who actually are in the music industry want, rather than assuming that we already know best.

          • Anonymous

            Come back when you’re ready, I think you’ll find a lot of open minds.

            But again — you do have to compete with YouTube, and you can’t do that by offering a better service. Nobody can. YouTube may be the symbol of evil incarnate for most artists today, but it’s almost perfect from the consumer’s point of view.

            So your only chance is to steal their artists, one by one.

            That’ll turn YouTube into the next MySpace.

          • GGG

            Eh, well that’s an interesting approach to the business model, though I feel like you’ll get better response with a monthly subscription and unlimited streams than with pay per stream, even if it was half a penny. Unless you have research that says otherwise, I feel like psychologically the former is much better, even if people ended up streaming exactly the same amount of songs for the money. But that’s just my random opinion, so take it with a grain of salt.

            I think the key here is making a service whose premium tier has something worthwhile to offer. Artists will in theory drive this a lot themselves, just by opting in/out with their music. But also, it’s an expensive gamble, but invest in artists, like Netflix does. Have a studio in NYC or LA or Nashville or a smaller city that gets a ton of touring acts coming through (think Daytrotter out in Rock Island, IL), and let them record a single that will be exclusive to your service. Hell, I could hook you up with a great studio for this. Sure some of those tracks will end up being pirated/shared, but at some point it won’t even be worth the effort. That’s really Spotify’s main issue; past having billions of songs, they don’t really have anything exclusive. Everything I can find on Spotify I can probably easily find somewhere else.

          • Sarah

            It is a super interesting business model. 🙂
            You’re absolutely right, some people will definitely prefer subscriptions to a la carte.
            But who says you can’t offer both on the same platform?

            As for exclusives, I see your point but we’re trying to avoid locking artists into anything. Sure, we’ll do better with exclusives, but so will our artists. If an artist chooses to make the content exclusive on our platform, he can always do so and he’ll benefit. We have some faith that artists will, on average, tend to choose exclusivity because it directly benefits them.

            However, we’re not set in stone on anything; the whole point of our platform is to be flexible so we can experiment and discover what works best for everyone.

            Also, thank you – you’re giving us really great things to consider, it’s very helpful getting feedback. I like your idea of hooking up with a studio.

          • GGG

            People only have issues with exclusives if it’s not a reasonable situation. Just like if label A pays for a record, I can’t take that to label B, if you pay for the creation of a track under a contract of exclusivity, I’d certainly be fine with that. Some artists/managers may not be, but they don’t have to get the funding then. Plus, it’d be like one single per act, not like an entire album. So the benefit to artists would be, in theory, more people actively streaming the song at your guys’ higher royalty rate. Going back to the Daytrotter sessions, a lot of those are exclusive and you have to pay to listen. I don’t know how many subscribers they have, but they’ve been chugging along for quite a while.

          • Name2

            Because in practice, people may say that they are willing to pay x cents for song access, but I don’t know that that enthusiasm will continue once they find their bank of points/dollars debited every time they playa song or collection.

            Perhaps you can get people willing to pay x cents/points to add a work to their library.


            1) more points debited if they play a song more than X times.
            2) points credited back if they turn out perfectly able to delete the song after < Y plays and live without it forever.

          • Sarah

            That’s a great point and an intriguing model, thanks for suggesting it. We’re staying very flexible because we’re doing something new – we don’t know yet what will work best for everyone.

            Would love to get your feedback after we launch. 🙂

          • small labe1

            jukeboxes seem to work fine, and they charge a hell of a lot more than a few pennies…

      • Neo

        I feel like the only solution to this then would be to grow and adapt to new and different ways of thinking.

        If you wish to make money doing music, do live shows. Be a doer. Go out and talk to venues in person and find shows. Market your material in the physical by putting in your own effort (or pay someone I guess).

        If you don’t want to do that, or if you don’t want to perform (for any reason), then create an online presence. Develop your own website (or pay someone to), then release your content on here. Invent various ways to implement ads on the site (that are user-friendly, and not super annoying), then get traffic flow there through your music (you can implement a secure payment method for downloads) and other means.

        Get creative with monetizing methods. You won’t make a grand living online doing one thing, you must do many things, and create a name for yourself.
        Only then, can you make the big bucks.

  9. anontech


    Calm down. The fans have your back. A YouTube fix is about to be deployed soon. You will all know when it arrives, because I will email paul shortly after deployment.


  10. JMC

    I agree, the pay is ridiculously low. There may be hope on the horizon. There is a new foundation, the AppleByte Foundation that supports artists of all types and has just launched a music site that pays musicians 100% of the sales price for their music.

  11. Anonymous

    “One million views would generate about $65”

    It’s beyond ridiculous — thank you for taking the time to post this.

    Let’s hope we’re going to see a couple of great YouTube alternatives very soon! (Check Sarah’s and Tom Oswald’s comments to the other YouTube articles.)

  12. Anonymous

    it’s like most anything else these days, if you are not in the top 1%, you are a doormat, it’s just the way it is…

    While everyone talks about the low payouts, i look at it as a more deterioration of quality and care, as people chase the logical break even points, they make lesser quality videos, which in and of itself just continues the devaluation…

    First i think most artists are crazy to even upload anything original to youtube, it’s a listeners and consumers paradise and works ok for the 1% of top gunners and those making cover songs of those top gunners in hopes of latching some fractional pennies or maybe some label or star maker interest, everyone else would be wise to just avoid it unless paid up front to or unless with sponsorship or product placement… There are plenty of options out there for embedding video on your own webpage, cause most true fans are only acquired in a few time tested ways, else you can find a plethora of freelancers who would whip up the needed script…

    With hearing a much elevated and heightened sense then seeing, it makes no sense to create garbage visuals just for the sake of it and without the top gunning or sponsorship or product placement, someone must think long and hard about the investment of making the product and content in a business sense and even in just an artistic historical sense if one cares about that, which makes me think its become nothing more then an ego fame attention game, as the deluge of low budget garbage content just continues to flow like the dang levy broke making the town the hoover damn wiped out when it broke look like a tiny village with a populace you could count on one hand…

    you know who it is…


    Like I said many times before “Music Streaming is a Musical Demon!” made to suck the life out of the majority of Creative People! I hat to say it, but The best way for musicians to make money in the future is probably gonna be by suing people! I wish I could have been involved in the industry before everybody had computers. Music was actually better then and more lucrative. Now you have millionaires and billionaires expecting you to perform for free while you live in or near poverty. What good is promotion when it’s getting to be impossible to sell your music and make a small living. As creators of music you should be able to sell your music not some damn apparel made in china or a penny stream! We need to hit the reset button and start over before it all comes to an end!

    • Roni Griffith

      You are so right. The sad thing is there is no reset button only fighting for stronger laws and regulations.

  14. PJ Wassermann

    People tell me “if you don’t like YouTube’s conditions then you don’t have to use it”. But that’s not true. Most of my views come from third party uploads that I haven’t authorized and YT does nothing to keep them from doing so. If I want to have chance of earning some money from my music getting uploaded then I have to be a YouTube partner. Only the money that’s coming in is so ridiculously little.
    I don’t know on what legal terms YouTube are conducting their business but as long as they don’t pay decent compensations to rights owners then basically it’s the same as piracy.

    • Versus

      Exacty right.

      No one has to time to chase down all the uploads with DMCA takedowns in whack-a-mole style, and that is a losing game. YouTube must be forced, by law, to immediately block UPLOADS of any unauthorized material, as determined by ContentID, unless the intellectual property rights owner allows such uploads.

    • Anonymous

      But that’s not true. Most of my views come from third party uploads that I haven’t authorized and YT does nothing to keep them from doing so.

      That’s the game you’re in my man, it’s a reactionary game, youtube uses loopholes, drags their feet and tosses their hands up, everyone is standing around with their cowboy boots on and big ten gallon bucket hats, spitoon in the middle of the circle jerk, hands on the six shooters with some old twangin banjo music going on like the good the bad and the ugly, slit eyeing eachother suspiciously wondering whos going to draw first, or something like that… Anyone decides to pick up a gittar and sit around the camp fire singing koombaya, well, theyll get a few bullets whizzing by, taking up precious fire heat for the canned beans, as well theres the twangin banjo western music soundtrack already playing, so put that gitta down and grab the damn six shooter already!!!! lol

      Meaning, they dont want to do the work unless super compelled to do so, so, whereas someone like a big possed up popster, with millies and trolls and goons, who can use their muscle, leverage and a large part of their budget to pay multiple gooning thugs, or scholars in suits or whoever, to stay right up their you know what to ensure all and any third party content gets removed immediately, else you play the whack a mole game, and sit in your little play pen until someone notices and comes over and hands you a pacifier, i mean, thats just the way it is, you have to be all up their butts to the points it’s uncomfortable and more cost effective to deal with you expediently in order to get them on it quick, otherwise your complaint falls way down the pile and gets dealt with when it gets dealt with…

      Google et all are doing the exact same thing a kim dot com did, and yet the states had this massive hardon to lynch that guy up, yet do nothing for their own corporations who do the exact same thing, geeeeeeez i wonder why, they need a cut for shady activity involving anything to do with their jurisdiction, so long as they get their cut they dont got time to care about it other then some faintly veiled pr campaign gibberish… Its part of youtubes whole model, they werent started to help fledgling musicians, many of whom who are great at their craft and deserve more ways to make decent money to survive in this crazy world, yet they were actually started more for the commoner, the social site where you can easily upload and share your latest cat video with your family and friends, they truly do not care about stars or fame or any of those fields, their thing was for all and for sharing, so im sure all the dmca takedown requests are a pain in their butt and kind of hit the old in box where buddy with the thick glasses in the basement and the red stapler with no lights on is on the job, top men, on the job…

      Of course if you on a Major or a big big indy with large pockets and bankster buddies and well connected lawyers, well youtube heeds very quickly and gets on it real quick, else they just prick around like most other people these days, which is why i say the play pen thing, so don’t take it personally or anything…

      stop picketing those people and choose another play people, theres no square on that board for the picket play with yalls problem, move to the picket play square puts yourself in checkmate, meaning you cant move to it, so take your hand off your rook and grab the queen or knight and try something else…

  15. Anonymous

    Anybody can compete with YouTube- all they have to do is agree to pay more than YT does.

    Put up the exact same user interface, copy the whole damn thing. As long as you promise to pay a decent royalty, every single artist will say bye-bye to YT.

    And that new channel will make money. Lots of it. Just like YouTube does. See, if Google wasn’t so inherently greedy and evil, they would have done it like Apple did and agreed to pay a decent royalty right off the bat. They would have remained the champ.

    But noooooooooo.

    And they will ultimately croak because of it.

  16. Snidely

    I’d be interested in a site that gives $.01 per view to the artists. Of course, it would have to be big improvement over Youtube, but I’d seriously consider joining.

  17. David

    The original poster’s figures work out at less than a hundredth of a cent per play, compared to just over a tenth of a cent for Pandora or Spotify’s ad-funded tier. So we should be asking why YouTube’s payouts are so miserably low in comparison. Of course, the OP’s figures might be unrepresentative, as there is no single payout rate. But I noticed in Zoe Keating’s current interview on Billboard, she says: ‘ The actual revenue I get from ContentID is very small. That’s not a reason to do it, I think. I mentioned on my blog that every month I get a quarter of a million Pandora spins that nets me about $325. YouTube is far, far less than that for the same number [of streams] ‘ So that is another example of a rate ‘far far below’ the Pandora standard. Now, YT has a *lot* of advertising compared to Pandora or Spotify. After all, Google is the world’s biggest advertising company. So where is the money going?

  18. Anon

    Sounds like this guy isn’t claiming his videos properly or doing any of the things necessary to optimize. He isn’t even showing who owns the Sound Recordings and how they are getting claimed, what the asset type is.

    YouTube is a complex system and just because this guy doesn’t know how to use it is no reason to blame YouTube.

    • PJ Wassermann

      I’m the rights owner and most of the views come from third party uploads. So what exactly I’m I supposed to do to get more money out of this piracy system?

  19. JukiTV

    F*ck YouTube. JukiTV coming soon!!!
    Anybody that wants to help change the industry you’re all welcome.
    If you wanna complain you can stay here and post on the forum.

    But the game WILL be changed this year!!!

  20. Anonymous

    honestly people, a great play, is to get over it, not be attached, and pick up something else…

    if every body just laid the hand down, heck, lets all just start a corporation and do something else, worldwide corporation where we just stick it to a bunch of these people doing a different line of work, and then let the majors do their thing, and then cat videos and lame nitch seo lame penny chasing…

    just flip em off and do something else, never put anything up on the net or any of their servers, hold occasional shows for those that need to perform, let zero phones or net devices in, and tell anyone who complains to shove it…

    thats a better play, too bad yall need the fame and attention and ego stroking and legacy and everything, chasing down that hall of fame or star on the walk or little trophy, heck, i can grab a 3D Printer and make you a bunch of trophies if you really need something for your mantels…

    starve those mofo’s and everybody, they dont care so why should yall care so much??? who freaking cares, stop being so attached to stupid dreams sold to you by others looking to take advantage of your attachment to your dream….


  21. Nagor

    “How is a musician supposed to make a living with this kind of payout?”

    You are confused. The purpose is not for the musician to make a living: it is for Google’s shareholders to make a living. They couldn’t care less about what you need; you are the slave doing the work and they’re the master sitting on the veranda drinking iced tea.

    So, say “Thankee, masa” and get back to work.

  22. Name2

    So I’ve lost count. What are we up to – plugs for 3 different services in one thread?

  23. DNog

    Hmmm how bout a streaming service where your monthly rate varies based on usage? I mean since we’re all just throwing up unrealistic ideas.

    • GGG

      That’s essentially one of the ideas Sarah threw out; that you pay a couple cents per stream.

      • DNog

        Here’s a hypothetical question GGG, if you could get rid of streaming all together would you? Let’s say we go back to Napster days, would you rather work out the purchasing vs. piracy war and let it play itself out without streaming becoming an alternative or would you rather the system changed in the ways it did? I know it’s totally unrealistic to ask but personally, I would rather do away with streaming and focus on purchase vs. piracy. I feel like the music business was such an overwhelming, profitable market that when piracy hit and started taking large chunks of profit everyone (especially majors) freaked out and looked for alternative means…enter streaming. My biggest problem is the level of streaming payout rate to pure piracy isn’t enough to make it right. It’s not enough to make your art your career or even a part time hobby. I think that people needed a wake up call on both sides, the huge rockstars and their labels and the consumer paying $20-$30 an album. You obviously will never stop piracy but the ability to make a realistic career of your art from your fans who truly respect and appreciate what you do by purchasing your music vs. pirates on the internet seems way better to me than pirates on the internet vs. your true fans who feel like they are still legitimately supporting your art through streaming services. Hence, streaming to me is the enemy. It’s like a well prepared lie to the consumer making them feel like they are justly supporting their favorite artist by using streaming services, and that’s just the paying subscribers.

        • DNog

          Longest rant ever…when your first sentence is incorrect in response to my comment, I’m not going to read the rest, sorry.

        • GGG

          Well, it’s kind of hard to answer that because it presumes that the internet won’t evolve.

          I mean, black and white short answer, sure, I’d much rather fight piracy vs sales and get rid of streaming. I don’t back streaming because I think it’s necessarily the best option. Even if you looked at me in the most cynical way, as some like anti-artist scumbag manager, it still helps me for people to buy because I make more money.

          So I’ve gotten behind streaming because we spent 10 years yelling/begging at people to buy music again, and it kept going down. And streaming as it stands is pretty shitty right now, financially, but 1) it was always going to happen in some form, and YT started crushing everyone and 2) I’m optimistically thinking/hoping we can get to a point where streams average out around a penny a play, and I think that can be a far more lasting income for acts because it monetizes everyone, as opposed to a tiny fraction of people.

          • NoMusicalTalent

            I’m just a consumer of music and I’m finding this conversation fascinating. I’m 37 and up until a couple of years ago I purchased CDs. I probably bought one per month and listened to the radio. I no longer purchase CDs and I pay for a Spotify subscription. I would definitely subscribe to a service where I paid a penny per play because I believe that artists should be paid. Spotify has let me listen to a lot more music and I won’t ever go back to buying CDs. I don’t listen to music on YouTube because I’m not fond of the format.

  24. Dave Mowers

    No one understands the class system. People who are in control, have power, high intellects or money, rule you. They, not you, are the sole benefactors of the talents God gave you. What God bestowed on you was only for their benefit. You are a slave.

    Enjoy, “capitalism.”

  25. Joseph Nicoletti Consulting

    Stupid…this is the Shame of the Business when you do not have Contacts and Exposure at Professional Levels,…this is not even a Joke,…Joseph Nicoletti Consulting (949) 446-8005 Po.obox 386 Laguna Bch,CA 92652 USA

  26. Karen A Tarlow

    It is largely because the composer is at the very end of the royalty food chain that I retired early. It’s simply not enough payment. Not everyone is a touring artist!

  27. Zorg

    If the song had been played on the radio, by a major player in a populous market, the royallties would likely not have been that much higher. Each play is the equivalent of a slingle listener, whereas a radio station might be heard by10K, 20K or 50K people at a time.

    The performer usually gets nothing. The writer and the composer get the royalties. And that should roughly amount to 5 cents per play. The radio business usually does not tally each and every song played, but rather a bulk audit. If a classic rock station played 0,05% Led Zep, the writer(s)/composer(s) would get 0,05% of what the radio station paid out in royalties.

    A single click play is really not worth much. Sorry 🙁

  28. Anonymous

    first and foremost i’m writing this to help, not to criticize. i’m a fellow youtube partner.

    you’re not getting enough views to generate substantial income. you show that you have over 100,000 views, but that’s in a period of ONE YEAR. that is NOT ENOUGH AT ALL. in order make substantial revenue, you need to generate around 20,000 to 100,000 A MONTH. your earnings may be particularly low because you don’t drive enough CONSISTENT traffic. this makes your video less desirable to advertisers, and thus drops your CPM. your views have to be consistent and cannot peak in one day like the way i see it on your youtube analytics.

    bottom line, this has very little to do with “unfair pay of youtube.” it is possible to make it work, though it’s not easy. in order to increase your earnings, you need to increase your views, which can be done by gaining more subscribers, develop a stronger following, and posting more consistent content.

    • PJ Wassermann

      Hi Anonymous, thanks for your hints. I’m not aiming to make a living from YT, I just want get paid decently for the use of my music. After seeing these figures it’s very probably not worth the effort of optimizing YT performance.

  29. Stop Crying

    wha wha wha…. Life is about progress. Songwriters are getting screwed..but its the circle of life.. you can create music today without instruments. should the guitar, horn, piano manufacturers complain. why not the studio owners, the engineers, studio musicians..

    i didn’t know who you were until i got an rss feed of article that i clicked went on the internet and streamed the song. I wouldn’t have known you.

    Stop crying.. stop looking at the old “mailbox” money.. and work. life has moved on.

  30. Miguel

    It’s the same with fiction writing–once it hits the internet it’s not controllable. You could work years writing a novel and everyone in the world could have a pirated digital copy overnight. I suspect this situation has been allowed to arise because it removes the profit incentive from creativity. I suspect our existing power structures don’t want us to be able to earn a living with our creative efforts, because in the throes of creation we might criticize the power structures. The system seems designed to crush the individual voice. Sorry you got reamed. Hope you keep on keepin’ on.

  31. PJ Wassermann

    Thanks to everyone for their comments.

    I’m not crying. I was a professional musician and studio owner in the 80ies until the end of the 90ies. Then it became clear that this game had no future. I’m doing very fine ever since hiring out my brain functions (not my soul, as in music).

    But I can’t live without making music. I concentrate on playing live now. They can’t steal that from me.

    Still I want a fair pay for my recorded music. Isn’t that a completely normal attitude?

    YT is the biggest piracy site in the world. They should be forced to either take down all unauthorized content or pay a decent fee for every view. They can achieve this by having people pay for unlimited access or else show them only teasers of 30 seconds or so.

  32. D Day Media

    The issue of royalty on the digital platform must be addressed in the courts. In the 50s-60s it was called payola. Radio stations and crime syndicates controlled distribution, airplay lists, juke boxes and virtually any means of music being broadcast.Under the Telecommunications Digital Management act the intent initially was for a fair profit sharing e-commerce solution. IN theory royalty rates were supposed to reflect and pay fair market value for streams and purchases of digital music . These rates were initially scaled far too low in fractions of cents. Regulatory oversight for ensuring and monitoring these payouts has been next to nil. Increases in the payout formula have been discussed over the years but there’s been very little change. There seems to be little political will by Congress to intervene on behalf of musicians. The big media oligarchs have a lock on progressive regulations that favor their corporate interest. What’s needed is stronger organizations among artists and content creators. Google, Universal will battle long and hard to keep digital royalties as low as possible. We need organize and to lobby for a fair scale in revenue sharing. Under the present scenario musicians and others distributing copyright protected works are merely cogs in a well oiled revenue machine spewing out huge profit margins for shareholders at the expense of artists.We need to stop complaining and start organizing, litigate and demanding. The current digital rights royalties scene is deplorable and the musicians unions, performing rights entities have been ineffectual in addressing these legitimate grievances of tens of thousands of musicians, singers and artists streaming and selling music over the Internet.

  33. Michael

    Well, this sort of sad song is now very common. Artists need to come up with a brand new payment paradigm, and ditch the outdated royalty model, which has been shattered by the digital age. Some method of getting the payment UP FRONT is badly needed. Actors found this out years ago, and no longer rely on box office receipts for their pay. They get all of their salary up front.

  34. molasses jones

    This just shows, that reading the fine print is important. An artist or producer of content should NEVER agree to working for such a meager sum. When Youtube came out with their new independent artist agreement. I stopped uploading full songs and didn’t use the service to promote my music. Know what your music is worth and you’ll take more time to read and understand the agreements you sign BEFORE getting into them.

  35. Justin Szlasa

    I come from the independent documentary world where the numbers are extremely difficult. My experience in film motivated me to try to come up with a new paradigm for the creative economy–to find a way for fans and artists to share their common values in a way that can benefit both parties. is my crack at it– Tipglo creates a new way for you to get paid by your fans when you communicate with them personally. If you are interested please check it out and I’d welcome feedback from anyone on this thread.

  36. Scott Simpson

    I know the author is focusing the blame on Google, but one has to ask a real question: How much value do you think advertisers should be putting on people who watch techno videos on YouTube? Advertisers bid (through computers, obviously) on getting their ads in front of people they think will buy their stuff. People who make videos about laundry soap might make a lot of money from ads placed by people who sell laundry soap to people who are already interested in laundry soap. What do people who watch techno music about cows buy, and how much are the people who sell it willing to pay to advertise such a thing? Among those people, how many will click through to the site being advertised? Consider the answer to that, then account for your fraction of that investment. It’s not all Google’s fault.

  37. Me2

    “And I’m telling you, the devil? Nice people…YouTube. Oh my gosh. They claim they’re paying people a lot, but they’re not paying anything either. And people get millions and millions and millions of views and they don’t get squat.” – Garth Brooks

    Why YouTube and not, say, Spotify? “Because they are the ones that have been least cooperative and the company our clients feel are the worst offenders,” (Irving) Azoff tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s also their attitude.”

  38. Me2

    Hey PJ, I’m checking out the playlist here. Looks like a compilation or something. Did you write all this stuff? or is it your label or something?

    1. Rados – My Soul at the End of the Universe
    2. A.R. Rabman – Mumbai Theme
    3. Amethystium – Odyssey
    4. Voices of Kwahn A.D. – Return Journey
    5. Enigmatic Obsession – The Delta of the Red River
    6. Aakarshan – Tantra Cafe
    7. The Last Atlant – Reversed Cloud (Original Mix)
    8. Mr Sam feat Kitty Hawkshaw – Lodestar (4Mal feat Blue screen & ElvenFox Cold Dub)
    9. Stella Wassermann – Me Coucher sur Toi
    10. Blue Stone – Lost Sun
    11. En Voice – Lost in Space (Original Mix)
    12. Jasmon – Mountain Peak (Original Mix)
    13. Cell – Orange (Original Mix)
    14. Rados – Bogomilizam (Original Mix)
    15. Wendy G – Wedding Blessing

    Chillout Music Mix Playlist:

  39. Anonymous

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  40. John

    A few cents worth of thoughts from a radio guy. First I do use YouTube to find music, I buy music, a lot of it. so if the argument is that Google acts as promotion for bands, sure, it sounds legit to a point.

    Penny #1, Google can easily recognize who’s music is being played, Shazam does it even while I’m driving my old truck so any claim of inability is simply a lack of caring to do so on Google’s part.

    Penny #2, Even if no adds are clicked on, Google is using artists music to draw traffic to it’s site and it’s making money hand of fist. Given Google doesn’t have rights to a large swath of that music, it’s no different than me ‘borrowing’ your car to make a beer run even if I bring the car back. If you believe different please leave your keys in the car and post your address, a man gets thirsty you know…

    Penny #3, Don’t get sucked into the music industry vs Google argument… While it’s easy to list a long line of grievances with the music industry as a whole, at least they pay musicians. The phrase ‘two wrongs don’t make a right” has it’s application here too.

    And while I’m here… one extra penny. Anyone who thinks you can live like a king just by touring hasn’t done it. Most bands can’t afford to give away music simply as promos. I’m familiar with the band One Eyed Doll, they spent 10K last year on gas alone… not eats or a place to sleep, just gas. While some musician’s will do it because they love music, we are going to see less and less bands as they throw in the towel and get jobs that actually pay. Say survival of the fittest all you want, you have to eat to survive. The ten dollars the author was paid wouldn’t even buy him a set of guitar strings.

  41. Anonymous

    As a songwriter, I’m sympathetic. but if this were compared to terrestrial radio, has it ever been any better?
    Those hit writers who do make money get billions of spins on 10s of thousands of stations throughout the world, and in the terrestrial radio world, 100k spins is not much. Sure, I’m all for more dough, though. I guess the simple point is, to make a living, you need to write hits, and 100K or even a few million, is not a hit, it’s a curiosity. But, without radio billions of spins, or billions of spins on pandora or spotify, making a living is not so easy.

    Patrick Lockwood

  42. Anonymous

    youtube sucks, I got 2 cents for 1,000 views, aint that some shit!

  43. Nicko

    Youtube used pirated content for growth. I only visited youtube because it had free content and all my friends used it for the same reason. Youtube is no different from a piracy site where anyone can upload anything, the site owner knows it’s 99% pirated material and profits from it, but also includes a DMCA to make it legal.

    Intelligent piracy sites try to become content providers. Youtube did the same.

  44. Sean

    Google continues to pay its biggest advertisers more and everyone else less.

    Its because Google bought Youtube. As googles monopoly has grown over internet advertising their pay outs to publishers have crashed. We MUST defend Google be broken up so there is real competition. They are robbing us musicians and publishers BLIND. Notice in 2014 Google made 66 BILLION dollars…96% comes from selling advertising so they made it off of us. This is the source of the problem.

  45. Jeff

    You should have to pay with world to listen to your garbage trance music.

  46. Jeremiah Prout

    Greetings 1st worlders. I am from a very tiny 3rd world country that’s so far from being developed in the world of music and artistry.

    But we have a massive talent overload especially with music and YouTube is one of the ways we try to advertise this talent.

    Hardly any of us knows what’s really going on inside this but according to what many of you expressed on this blog has really opened up my eyes to the bigger picture of how you all are sharing in the same battle we all face as musos.

    So while everyone is concentrating on how to make money and get the most benefits out of cyber advertising, I was just wondering, is it really just continuously uploading videos and waiting to hit the jackpot? Cause obviously that hasn’t worked for a lot of you even if you generate more than a million views thus, giving rise to new platforms.

    Anyway my point is, you all love music like I do and on each individual scale, you would like your music to be heard. I want the same for myself and my music but because of all this talk of how unbenificial platforms like YouTube are, how much more different do you think the other uprising platforms are?

    So who’s going to stand up for us musicians, songwriters etc and give us all the ultimate platform to change the world?

    To us in a 3rd world country, where words fail, music speaks.

  47. THE ! GROOVY ! GROUP ! ®

    It all depends on the music collection agency, and if you are not getting the best rates.
    We have artists who had been paid more than this for under a thousand hits!

    With 151,781 Plays on YouTube
    Should receive: $1,062.46

    Here is a link to get paid more:

    Best regards,

    THE ! GROOVY ! GROUP ! ®

    • filmmaker

      Technology is the real criminal. Not youtube or its ad share system. Before the internet, buying music was the only way to control what your listening to if not your at the mercy of tv/radio. So it was cool to buy music and listen to it. Now its cool to listen to music and live life. Find ways to make money off of your audience when they are living life <—– the answer!!

      Music videos are flyers for your music. Be happy youtube is paying for people glancing at your flyers. Take advantage of youtube's audience sitting there looking to be entertained and promote what you are selling.

  48. Anonymous

    Well.. i guess that what Patreon is for.. getting the monthly money that you miss by not getting it from Youtube..
    Everyone Hip does Patreon these Days and some get even more than someone would get by working a REAL JOB.

  49. filmmaker

    Great comment section.

    As a frequent youtube user and a passionate dedicated filmmaker who thrives off of the music industry…Ive had so many mixed feelings about this subject through out the years. My conclusion doesn’t exactly lie in the pay per view dialogue. That part of the conversation is dictated by the size of the audience on a give song/artist/music video (or any combo).

    Youtube, from my understanding as a filmmaker who also has TV experience and done tons of research in that area. Some musicians think tv channels/ads pay the same across the board. Like they would think a local free tv channel would pay the same per episode of what ever content that HBO would pay. Yes it’s extreme, but so is the current conversation of thinking youtube should be simply paying more.

    Ads on youtube are like tv, time/channel/popularity all factor in on how outside companies (who are putting up the ad money) chooses to spend their dollar. They are targeting a certain demographic and if your video content attracts that, you will win on youtube. If the same people who refuses to go to your shows or pay you direct for music and videos, why would Mcdonalds want to share ad money with you (which is why youtube would pay you).

    From my perspective, instead of facing the reality that you don’t have an audience, its easier to point the finger at youtube. And what are you pointing the finger at, a platform that has 400 million views per day and over 6 billion hours of content played a month. That’s more then nearly every radio station and tv program an artist can benefit from – times a lot.

    What musicians directly benefit, those who get adshare in the form of ‘the video will play after’ or ‘skip ad’….that content has proven to benefit other companies paying for their ads (like a commercial on tv, not a pop up ad like the back pages of a newspaper). How is it proven, 100s of millions of views. Something that can happen in a month or 15 years.

    Youtube adds up big time when you have an audience. Think about it, every big tv channel and show as well as radio stations, all are chasing their loyal audience in youtube. The platform makes it easier to promote your content to the masses. Which is what a music video is, a promotion, not a product.

    Now a positive look, music videos are like flyers for a club. who pays for a flyer??? But, through fractions of pennies, you get paid for your flyer. How great is that to be able to generate from promoting.

    Now why do I say an audience is important. I was taught to target artists with audiences because they are the ones who should/need to invest in music videos. It drove me crazy doing music videos under 5k when most artists want free videos or at must 1k a shoot. Sucks!!!! so I learned this perspective that makes senses:

    5% of people who get a chance to listen to a song or project might like the content a little to a lot. Now take that 5% and make it your ‘audience’/your support system. Only 2% of that audience MIGHT spend money on your content or something revolving around it (show, club, tv show, movie, etc). Now that tiny audience that pays is what artists/labels design their budgets around.

    Technology is the real criminal. Not youtube or its ad share system. Before the internet, buying music was the only way to control what your listening to if not your at the mercy of tv/radio. So it was cool to buy music and listen to it. Now its cool to listen to music and live life. Find ways to make money off of your audience when they are living life <—– the answer!!

  50. 707spookyboo22

    Upload your song to amazon or iTunes as an mp3. Sign up for the affiliate program. Put the affiliate link on YouTube in your description and as a buy option in the annotations area. Tell people if they want to own the copy they can download it. If people like it, they will buy it.

    Unfortunately, it is the way of the times. When someone listens to your video, you should make money. When someone wants to buy your music you will make a royalty plus an affiliate commission.

    Or, there are always live concerts.

    I hope you find a way to capitalize on your talent. If people like your work as an artist then you should be making money on it, but none of this is going to change any time soon. If YouTube disappeared then DailyMotion or something else will takeover. Asking people to stop using it is like asking people to not pay taxes in protest. Sadly, we will never have another Boston Tea Party again.

    Another note, don’t just play music on your YouTube channel. People want to know you. Look at channels that make 10 million per month. They are out there, just ask yourself what you can do to boost your own work.

  51. Annika

    I’m with Dave 5000 on this. You’re forgetting about the role music fans play in this whole story. Because streaming is the future but music fans are the ones who will pay for music. We want something special – something that gives us a connection to the music and the artist we love to set us apart from the millions of people who don’t give a fuck. The music fan is a breed apart – I know loads of people who listen to music – but they never get obsessed, or go to gigs or buy merch or support musicians financially. I just spent $300AUD on music on bandcamp last month across about 15? artists and I guess 30 EP’s. More than I could afford but I heard so much good music I just had to have it and I wanted to support those artists because they deserve support and my bandcamp wishlist is now a mile long. But to find the music I love, I listened to maybe 150+ songs on YouTube (mostly on indie channels who upload content without permission) . YouTube right now is nearly the only way I can find out about these artists (because they’re too underground to even be on Spotify) and I thank fuck people are uploading such amazing stuff to Youtube because if they didn’t I would never have heard any of these songs in the first place. Streaming has its role – the onus is then on the artists/labels to promote themselves enough, to create unique collectible, signed, special, covetable products, vinyl, badges, stickers, you name it so us fans can throw our money at you. I’m glad Wasserman opened up this conversation because I don’t actually think the average Spotify/YouTube user even realises how little money artists are receiving. It’s undeniably a pittance! I am frequently dismayed to see how few copies of albums and EP’s are sold on bandcamp. But maybe people just don’t know – the average consumer isn’t a mind reader. Friends of mine funded their whole new album through Patreon. They said “Hey, we don’t have enough money to do our next album, would you mind helping us out?” and people did and their $5000 ask became $6500 in a month. that’s the power of music fans. So follow Wasserman and get vocal because if the creators of music don’t speak up about how fucking hard it is, who is going to know? And it’s only going to get harder. I lost my job in the music industry because of declining music sales. So I know. But I’m one of those rare music fans who gives a shit.

    • DEE


  52. Annika

    I also want to add one of the purchases I made recently on bandcamp was a yearly subscription to one of my all time favourite artists. Apparently I get every new song he makes in 2017. That’s the other thing us fans are willing to pay for. Direct subscription! That’s something all artists and labels should absolutely consider offering. Give your fans first dibs/early access so we can be the first to hear your new songs. Man it makes me feel good to support an artist I’ve been a fan of for years. I paid $25USD/$35AUD. That’s 2-3 times more than Wasserman got from YouTube. Think about that. One single fan will give you more money than YouTube! It’s kinda ridiculous when you think about it. (O.O)

  53. MCM

    Start a free access website where musicians can collaborate and jam together. Allowing consumers to view the creative process. Which will create interest in purchasing the finished product, then have links from that website to each artist’s individual websites, there they can make money in a number of ways, advertising, donations, Freemium(mix of free and paid content) etc.

  54. Kenonymous

    Unfortunately being “a gamer” makes you an artist these days. Makes you think huh….

  55. Kryst

    It’s outrageous that thieving youtubers can upload music that is not their own, place ads, steal the experience of listening to a full album, and YT’s and youtube (Google) profit from STEALING. A class action lawsuit needs to be filed to make these bandits pay. Personally, I believe these thieves ought to be hung, or have a hemp rope tied to their small intestine and the other tied to a horse dedicated to ripping their insides out and their life. A horrifying thought for any wannabe thieves.

  56. Don'ttrustGoogle

    Google rips people off. They are not honest.

    I had an Adwords account where I paid per-click for some obscure keywords. They cancelled all my campaigns because they claimed I was not paying enough to keep up with the competition for those keywords. Since I knew there was no “competition” I called them out on it. I wrote and accused them of creating “competition” to raise my fees.

    They did not respond in writing. Instead, they accessed my personal account without my permission and raised my per-click campaign fees 20 fold and signed me up for banner ads without my consent. They hacked my private account with my personal and credit card data and signed up for a bunch of expenses without my permission.

    I wrote to the Google business department and notified them that Google had committed fraud against me and I was filing a fraud complaint with the credit card company.

    The credit card company reversed the charges and the Google business department told me their security department found that someone did in fact make unauthorized changes to my account. But they continued trying to collect from me.

  57. Reality

    You get less cause you suck. Plain and simple