You might have noticed over the last few years that there has been a continually growing number of independent artists making good money by using YouTube as their primary source of income.

It has become, without a doubt, one of the easiest and most effective ways for an artist to make a nice living online without having to push the boundaries too much.

As the music industry continues to fracture with different platforms emerging, understanding how to maximise your revenue and create new income streams is essential for your success

However, like any other form of monetization or profit generation, YouTube monetization is all about smart and efficient planning whilst preparing a solid, adequate list of objectives to follow along with in the long-term.

This has become, without a doubt one of the most effective ways to make your living online purely because it gets such an incredible range of viewers who are looking for interesting and engaging music to listen to for the very first time.

It’s the most popular listening platform for anyone under the age of 18 in the world today, and for an indy rapper this is MAJOR. You can effectively get people on-side with you who are deeply interested in the art of finding new people to be influenced by, meaning that you can set yourself as a major player for all of your listeners in the future.

The problem is, of course, making sure that you are capable of making a comfortable and effective living through the viewing of others on your products which are now being hosted on YouTube.

Using CD Baby to monetize your music

One of the first thing we want to point out, though, is that you should go and read our article on CD Baby before moving forward. CD Baby will ensure that you get plenty of interesting and engaging insights coming through to you by uploading your music to multiple sources for consumption.

They act as your distributor and help you get spotted across the web by putting you out to places like Rhapsody, Spotify and especially YouTube.

At the time of writing, CD Baby has made its artists over $1m using YouTube alone; this is a massive sum and one that you can start benefiting from in the long-term if you just start using the power of YouTube to properly augment your business when moving forward.

All you need to do is sign up for the CD Baby Sync Listening program – entirely free for all CD Baby users – and you can then have tracks uploaded to YouTube and their Content ID system. This means that you will have your tracks analysed and fingerprinted by the CD Baby team, implementing it into their database for future usage and consumption.

This means that anytime someone uploads a video which matches the fingerprint of your song, you’ll be given a small share of the advertising revenue.

Earning revenue from YouTube plays

Well, it means that you can make money from YouTube all the time – when people start using your songs for advertising, you’ll be rewarded. If any video on YouTube uses your music in the future, YouTube provides an ad at the start.

If the ad is clicked on or plays in its entirety then you are rewarded some money back in return. Whilst you can’t particularly estimate how much you will make or anything of the sort due to the massive fluctuation with ads, this is an easy way to build on your revenue streams that you already have set up.

We don’t want to give you any kind of pipe dreams about making money to the sum of X, but you can make a good living from YouTube monetization. It all depends on things like when the product is viewed, on what channel, how many views, how much the advertiser is paying etc.

You can, though, head into your CD Baby account and get back all the analytics that you need to know exactly where you stand at this moment in time as an artist.

Obviously, the more videos that you upload to your online account the higher the chances of actually making some money. Once YouTube has your fingerprint included in the music, every video that contains any music you make will then be generating revenue for you.

Therefore, it pays to work hard and get as many good tunes as you can on YouTube via CD Baby to help you maximize your chances of getting some nice ad revenue in the long-term.

Encourage friends to use it in their music videos, their “cat” videos and anything else that they make. Got a friend who makes highlight reels for their favourite sports stars? Ask them to use your stuff – if they get enough views it could be a lovely little earner for you. This is a very good way to solidify your chances of earning a solid living.

Understanding rights control for YouTube

However, one thing you do need to learn about quite quickly is rights control. Just like how it is absolutely essential for independent rappers to understand what music publishing is, any musician putting their content on YouTube needs to understand rights control. 

YouTube is a wonderful tool and this fingerprint thing is really quite innovative. However, it’s still only a website no matter how smart it is – it won’t know “know” your music on its own and it won’t know that you created the software in the first place. It’s going to place ads on your own video channel, even when you view it, so long as you have your own music on your own channel as well.

 To YouTube your songs are merely just meta-tagged to let it know that CD Baby runs the show here. YouTube will pay CD Baby and then they will pay you – it’s a simple enough system, right? Well for many people it can be a fair bit more confusing than this.

Don’t worry about you being told that you don’t own the rights to your music because CD Baby has it fingerprinted – that’s not the case. Again, YouTube does not know that you are you and thus it can make it quite confusing. Rest assured, with CD Baby and YouTube you are still in complete command of your music moving forward, there is nothing to fear on that front!

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Written by Hao Nguyen
Stop The Breaks is an independent music marketing company focused on showcasing independent hip-hop artists. Our goal is to help motivate, inspire and educate independent artists grinding around the world. We provide branding, content marketing, social media, SEO and music promotion services.