How Do Musicians Make Money on YouTube-Tips

On the mind of most modern-day musicians is the thought of how to make money using social media platforms. That’s because social media, these days, has gone past being a platform where you connect to fans and post your music. Instead, it has become a channel for making money. However, if you don’t fully understand the concept of how subscribers, followers, likes, retweets, etc., translate to monetary values, you can quickly lose out on the social cake. Therefore, the urge to share the cake led many to ask how Musicians Make Money on YouTube? If you’ve ever asked such questions, seeking to know how mainstream musicians do it, you probably have a lot to catch up and understand.

Note that the general social media activities of posting, liking, retweeting, sharing, etc., don’t directly translate to money-making. To make matters worse, social media can waste your time—the time you ought to spend making music, merch, booking shows, etc. But, we hear stories about how music superstars, celebrities, and influencers make massive money off social media. Meaning you can do the same. And, YES, you don’t have to wait till you have millions of followers, like the superstars, before you start making money; you only need the right attitude and the proper understanding of how things work. 

In this article, we would explore the following to help you better understand how things work.

  • The Approach to Social Media Music Sales 
  • Tested and Proven Tips to Make Money on YouTube
  • What is YouTube Content ID?
  • If Someone Uses My Music, What Happens? 
  • How do YouTube Adverts Work? 
  • How much money can I make from YouTube?

The Approach to Social Media Music Sales 

Before we go into details of making money on social media platforms and answer the question; How Do Musicians Make Money on YouTube? First, let’s consider the right approach to selling your music on social media. Though the strategy is a proven and tested one—it has worked for many, and it’s still working—it will not work for you until you get the right attitude to selling your music on social media. So, what are these things?

You’re Creating a Valuable Asset

The social media space is not designed for the sales of music alone. It’s designed to cut the share of the cake to anyone who has an asset to sell. An asset is anything that can provide you money till eternity when nourished and can continue to make more money even while you sleep. Your music is such an asset. That’s why you see record labels willing to pay huge money to own some independent band or musician. So, your recordings, lyrics, and other things that monetize are an asset that you can monetize. 

Put Out Your Best Songs

Every day, you have thousands of new potential fans to win over because people give birth to the best children daily. By the time these children grow up to determine their taste in music, you can become their favorite if you have good music to entice them. If you put out bad material, you lose out on the daily share of potential fans. This doesn’t mean that you should become selective of the songs you post. On the contrary, your fans deserve to have access to almost all your materials. That’s why you need to put in your best at the point of production.


Abraham Lincoln was one quote to have said that “if I were given the task of cutting down a tree in four hours, I’d spend the first three hours sharpening my ax. The last one hour will be for cutting down the three.” The logic of this quote is simple to understand. Spend more hours preparing so you can spend fewer hours doing the task. The same applies to your music endeavors. Spend time preparing for your release’s content, spend time gathering fans, followers, subscribers, etc. They translate to how much you’ll make.

Pay your dues

Paying your dues when making money online has a slight difference in meaning to what it’s commonly interpreted to mean. First, there are social media marketing and PR experts. They know the nitty-gritty of making money online and can specifically tell you things to do. These are the ones you pay your dues to. Either by hiring them to do the work for you or paying them to teach you how to do it.

Tested and Proven Tips to Make Money on YouTube

Now that you know the right approach, you’re still probably wondering; How Do Musicians Make Money on YouTube? Let’s now find answers to that. First, note that every social media platform has its unique monetization system, though there are many similarities across the board. We can discuss every platform, but that will be too bulky, so let’s start with YouTube.

YouTube, from the onset, has been a place where musicians and music lovers get to share their love for music with each other. But, in addition to that, it is also a place where musicians get a monetary reward for their creativity at no cost whatsoever to music lovers. So, you entice me with your creativity, and I make YouTube pay you for the work without demanding a cent from me—a mutual kind of relationship. So, how then can a musician make money from YouTube?

Use YouTube Connections

As mentioned earlier, YouTube will not charge you fans any amount of money to pay you. Right now, the question on your mind is; how then does YouTube get the money to pay you? That’s where YouTube connections come in. The platform has a series of licensing partners who come to YouTube for advert placement. The platform charges them a fee for the ad, and when you upload your video, the platform places an ad on your videos. Every time a YouTube user watches your video, they contact the partner’s ads, and you get paid for it. You won’t need to do anything more other than uploading your videos. However, the more users you have subscribed to your channel, the more money you can make. So, you may need to get a good number of subscribers or let your work do the talking. 

Use YouTube Fan Funding

So, this tip is different from the first one in that, this time, you’ll have to ask your fans directly for financial support. Some fans won’t mind sharing a portion of their financial wealth with you. They are loyal enough to reward you directly with their money. But, this time, they are not paying for anything; they only send you cash for nothing in return except for the fact that they’ll get to enjoy more of your craft. 

This feature is an excellent invention from YouTube, especially for upcoming artists. It’s a setting on which you click on the “Creator Studio” that allows you to receive money directly from YouTube when you have a Google account. When you turn it on, it prompts your fans anytime they’re watching your video to donate. When they do, it gets credited into your account. Of course, you can change the settings anytime. 

Take Advantage of Collaboration

Growing your channel can be challenging. But, according to the YouTube algorithm, the more views you have, the more money you make. So, the challenge now is how to gather substantial amounts of views that will generate enough money. Collaboration can be the answer. Collaboration is when you can leverage other already established artists to boost your audience. 

There are a lot of artists out there who will be glad to collaborate with new artists. Find them and do some videos with them. That way, you expand your reach. Those who don’t know you before get to know you through the artist you collaborate with, and you get your name out there. It’s always good to collaborate. Even mainstream artists do it sometimes. 

Use Content ID to protect your music.

You can also sell your music on YouTube. That is, you give your fans the option to buy your music. When they do, they own the right to it and can use it as they please. It’s a great way to get famous. However, some can download the music without purchasing it. That’s why it’s essential to protect your music with Content ID. 

What is YouTube Content ID?

YouTube Content is ID is a service available to you to protect your music from getting downloaded without first purchasing it. However, when someone else downloads it illegally, Content ID identifies your music when used in a monetized video and gives you a share of the money that video generates. 

It’s important to note that the algorithm behind YouTube content ID is susceptible and only works when the music is original. This means, if you use a sample or a tiny bit of any other content that carries a copyright infringement, YouTube Content ID will deny you access. So, if you are wondering, how do Musicians Make Money on YouTube with such rigid regulations? The answer is, make it original! 

If Someone Uses My Music, What Happens? 

What happens is what YouTube calls User Generated Content (UGC). UGC is a significant way music artists make money. YouTube designed it such that anytime someone uploads a video that involves one of your music—anyone protected by Content ID—you earn money from such video. So, Content ID picks up any video that uses your track and pays you per view of that video. Great way to make money doing nothing! 

However, Content ID sometimes misses your song. This can happen if someone cleverly alters the content of your track in such a way that it becomes difficult to detect. It can also occur if the video uses only a short clip of your track. It’s challenging to get around this; that’s why some artists manually scan through YouTube to detect their track usage and report. So artists find a company that helps detect such and pay them for the service. 

How do YouTube Adverts Work? 

How Do Musicians Make Money on YouTube? So here it is; brands digitally meet up with YouTube to customize an advert campaign with a target audience in mind. If the desired target audience meets up with your YouTube audience or fan base, then they attach the ads to your video for your audience to watch. 

YouTube has three categories of ads that can run across your video. The type of ads commonly attached to your video determines the frequency of money you get paid. The three types of ads are;

Pre-roll Video Ads.

This type of video ad gets shown before viewers watch your video. It usually plays for about 30 seconds. However, you don’t get paid until users click on the link to the ad. So, YouTube charges advertisers per click for this ad. So, the number of clicks you can generate determines how much the ad will pay you. 

In-stream Ads. 

It’s the type of advert that your viewers show before they begin to watch the video. Then, they have the option to skip the ads after about five seconds. They can also choose to watch till the end. However, you’ll be paid per view for this type of ad. 

Bumper Ads. 

These are the ads that run only for six seconds, and viewers cannot skip them. The show before, in the middle, or after your video. You get paid each time viewers watch them.

Note that you have total control over the type of ads that show on your videos. You can choose to turn off specific adverts, and you may decide not to apply any ads on a particular video. The choice is yours.

How much money can musicians make from YouTube?

How much YouTube pay varies widely, so much that we can’t categorically say how much you’ll make on the platform. Two videos with the same stream cannot and will not give you the same monetary value. There are too many factors YouTube algorithm put into consideration before making payments; that’s why things vary that much.

However, you can make money in thousands of dollars from YouTube. Some people make it a career. They work full-time making YouTube videos and making a living out of it. That’s to indicate how successful YouTube can make you if you’re diligent, consistent, and good at it. Besides, any video you upload to YouTube becomes an asset. You’ll earn from it for life. Even while you sleep!


As we’ve shown, there are several ways musicians can make money on YouTube. Start making yours by following the above-listed steps. Get professional help if you need to; make sure you’re not leaving any stone unturned. Start as soon as possible!