My Music Got 1,000,000 YouTube Views. Want to See My Royalties?

How much does Youtube pay?
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How much does Youtube pay?
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Image by Thomas Galvez (CC by 2.0)

How much does YouTube pay for 1,000,000 views?

If you want to make money on YouTube, don’t get millions of views.  Get billions of views.  Because the only way to make YouTube make sense it with extreme volume.

That was confirmed by the latest YouTube royalty statement shared with Digital Music News.  Specifically, this is an artist who is capturing royalties through ContentID, which is YouTube’s system for recognizing music used in videos.  Once the music is identified, the rights owner (ie, this artist) has the ability to block it, or collect a portion of the ad revenue.

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This artist, who wished to remain confidential, has opted to collect a portion of ad revenues through the system.

Almost none of the revenues for this artist come from direct views in his channel.  “I leave my own trailers without monetizing,” the artist emailed us.  “My views come mostly from content ID, other people putting my music into their own playlists and ‘mixtapes’.”

As of the last reporting period, this artist received a cumulative total of 1,048,305 plays.  Here’s how much money he made.

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Ugh, $65?

Just doing the simple math, here’s how this all breaks down:

Total monetized views: 1,048,305

Cumulative revenues: $64.60

Total revenues per view: $0.0000616

We asked if this was possibly an error.  Nope, the artist told us. “Last year was nearly half a million views at $27,” he said.

And for that reason, he’s decided to focus his energies elsewhere.  “I haven’t been very active with new videos, doesn’t seem to be worth the effort,” he told us.  “But I’ll make some new ones anyway and then look at how to distribute them.”

Average Annual Salary for a Spotify Employee: $168,747

Here’s that whopping $27 earnings statement from 2016.  Specifically for 497,734 views.

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Actually, we’ve heard that YouTube Red earnings are a lot better.  But how much does YouTube pay for Red views?  Unfortunately, the number of people paying for YouTube’s premium offering seems low.  So, that means higher per-view royalties, but nothing that really adds up.

We’ll share more earnings statements as they come in.

Got something to share?  We’ll be sure to publish it, confidentially or otherwise, for the DMN community.  Just send it to  Thanks!


25 Responses

  1. anon

    Are we talking about sound recording revenue? Worldwide ownership? Conflicts? This isn’t an earnings statement, share the performance and claim reports for the timeframe. Without full transparency it’s really hard to assess how legitimate this is.

  2. Leo Wattenberg

    Couple of issues:

    * “For the last reporting period, this artist received a total of 1,048,305 plays.” – Note that those are the lifetime stats, not the last reporting period. It doesn’t include Red revenue for the majority of the time, and it’s over 3 years.
    ** Maybe you don’t want to just take the average because of that.
    * Views are not necessarily monetized views. You can see how many *monetized* views you actually have in the Ad Rates report.
    * Any revenue generated on videos has to be split among all right holders who claim the video, which is on mixtapes more than one typically. Roughly guesstimating with how many: 9 minutes average watch duration, assuming 50% average audience retention the videos are roughly 18 minutes long, which is enough to fit 5-6 average-length songs in.
    * The artist may be popular in countries that aren’t popular with advertisers. This is however hard to tell without the artist revealing their demographics.
    * The artist apparently isn’t monetizing their own channel, or isn’t utilizing it (not uploading their music there). If they were to upload their music there (fully advertised – not just overlays and display ads) and maintain it properly, they potentially could get a much better RPM than the low% cut they get from third party mixtapes.
    * The artist may have set some assets to just the track policy.
    * The artist may have allowed revenue share with the video uploaders.


    Showcasing that online advertising doesn’t yield that much revenue is fine, however, please avoid isolating single channels for that.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Thanks. I accidentally threw a monthly divider in the math exercise. The total is cumulative.

      On the splits, let me check back with him. Pretty sure these are controlled comps.

    • verifyhumanity

      Let me simplify this for you :
      The Artist got screwed
      The Artist Got screwed Again
      The Artist will continue to get Screwed
      The Artist did nothing about preventing himself from getting screwed..

      • Wooly

        Wrong. Enough of the pity party. You pass judgement without having all the necessary information.

  3. verifyhumanity

    yes yes, we all know about this.. for the past few years now.. Instead of showing of your poor earnings and shitty music industry ethics, How about all musicians and music reps actually begin doing something about it so that musicians can get paid fairly.. this is such old news now and every year you post the same articles same complaints same business as usual for the corporations.. these articles are not productive in fixing the music industry , and to be honest its a waste of time. How stupid can all you musicians and business label heads be to actually allow for some google or youtube to rape you right up the ass and let it continue for such a long time without doing something about it.. how stupid all you people are! do something about this and stop wasting time you are not immortal … ffs

    • Leo Wattenberg

      And over all those years, there has been one question which nobody could answer: If we want to pay all the artists fairly, where do we take the money from?

      • so

        How about a better split than 55 / 45 from YouTube advertising just to start? Other services pay ~70% to rightsholders. But the general answer to your question is that the money would come from the entities who are making all of it – the tech companies. Another question to ask is who we take the money *away* from, which would be all of the sites that persist in posting content owned by others for free (sites that Google happily points to in their search results).

        • Anonymous

          “How about a better split than 55 / 45 from YouTube advertising just to start?”

          What makes you think the current split is 55/45?

          It might as well be 5/95 — we have no way of knowing.

          What we do know is that YouTube makes billions every year, but has paid less than $2bn to content owners since 2005.

      • Anonymous

        “If we want to pay all the artists fairly, where do we take the money from?”

        From Google. They stole it in the first place.

        Without Google, we’d never have seen full-scale industrial piracy.

        And without full-scale industrial piracy, we would never have allowed YouTube and other streaming services to make billions from our property without fair compensation.

  4. Reality

    This is money earned by doing absolutely nothing. They call that found money. He spent $0 to get other people on YouTube to post his song, those people earned nothing to do it. Found money. And it’s called profit in the business world.

  5. MChain

    He should definitely go to, the only decentralized platform and currency for musicians to control their licenses.

    The industry has long been trapped by these type of formulas, if musicians don’t unite, don’t embrace their own technologies, a new streaming services would consider their benefits?

  6. Paul Resnikoff

    Quick update:

    I talked to the artist. He said he owns nearly 100% of the rights. As to complaints that he is not expertly managing his content, he said, basically, ‘can anyone teach me this?’

    (the question raised is whether anyone with a ‘mere 1 million’ has the tools to expertly manage without someone like Audiam etc.)

  7. music stowaway

    Seems like the days of rich pickings in the record business is largely over..

    The answer might be to not let your music be on YouTube and streaming sites and
    only have it available on iTunes, Beatport and other legit download sites..

    Then maybe after the record has done most of it’s download business then put it with the streamers.. Mind you, there are lot’s of pirate mp3 sites out there that will take anything and everything and give it away for free..

    It’s a mess.. it really is a mess..

  8. Aaron

    497,734 views in an entire year is absolutely nothing. Get back to me when it’s that much in a week. You know, the equivalent impressions of half a dozen radio spins?

  9. Antinet

    The CEOs of Google are scammer MBA jerks who could care less about creative people. This is only one of the things Google has done to rape creatives. Everyone needs to boycott Google utterly, and public campaigns need to assault their dominance and shame them.

    • Anonymous

      Yes they have killed the record industry I agree why don’t artists go back to selling CDs

  10. Anonymous

    I dont understand this as I make 2-300 a month of one track on you tube, It receive`s average of 70,000 plays a month

  11. JJ

    Nobody is forcing him to put his music on OTHER PEOPLES websites where OTHER PEOPLE in this case Youtube collects the ad revenues. Youtube is NOT his website so WHY the F are you putting it on there or ALLOWING it to be put on there? You want to make money, start your own website and handle your OWN ad revenue. Youtube should have NO music on it unless it pays for the rights to do so which is decided upon the ARTIST. If they REFUSE you say F them and move on. I am so so so so sick to death of musicians who keep feeding this monster and then whine when they are ripped off. Prince when he was alive refused Youtube all his music because they would not pay him the amount he wanted for the rights, he use to go through Youtube himself and any of his material he would find he would sue. Sadly though, now that he’s dead all his music has been uploaded I assume because nobody involved in his estate wants to take the time to sue Youtube for COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. If it was up to me Youtube would be sued out of existence but it seems being that it’s owned by Google, I don’t even have to guess they got every mofo in Congress in their back pocket so they get away with this sh*t.

  12. Sonya

    I put up my actual CD Baby and YouTube monetization figures in a video on YouTube. You can see what is really being paid. My music was viewed 2.6Million times in other channel videos using content ID and the pay is quite dismal to say the least.

  13. Kevin

    I’m an artist that has a song distributed bye Tunecore that has earned over 1,000 USD over just a few months from 1 song used in a youtube video with a total of just over 200,000 views. This past month I saw over 180 dollars for just over 30k monetized views. Something on your end seems to be off. Even for the Sonya video comment left above this comment on 7/1/19.

    • Sonya

      Hey Kevin,

      What’s your YouTube channel address? I want check it out. I’m definitely not seeing anywhere near that amount for views and I have 11 million views. Part of the problem could be the countries that are streaming the videos the most.


    Please Kevin. WE NEED HELP. TUNCORE IS NOT PAYING RIGHT. 77,000 Monetized views only $2.15