Can Musicians Make Money on YouTube – 19 Tips On How To

Alright, rockstars and aspiring chart-toppers, listen up! So, you’ve heard the legends of YouTube musicians turning their passion into paychecks, but you’re still jamming in your garage, wondering, “Is this a legit way to make money or just another industry myth?”

Today, we’re diving deep into the world of YouTube and its money-making potential for musicians. Let’s jam!

1. Monetizing Your Melodies: YouTube Partner Program (YPP)

So, numero uno on the list is the YouTube Partner Program. Once upon a time, you could just upload a video and watch the ad money roll in. But now? You gotta earn your stripes! You need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past year to be eligible. Then, and only then, can you start earning money from ads on your vids.

Cool Fact: Some top YouTubers make six figures annually just from ad revenue. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. The average pay is about $0.18 per view, but only if a viewer watches an ad for 30 seconds or more.

2. Merch, Merch, and More Merch

Got fans? Get merch! Shirts, hats, guitar picks – slap your logo on ’em and sell ’em! YouTube now has a merch shelf feature where creators can showcase their goodies right under their videos. It’s like a virtual tour stand, minus the awkward haggling.

Cool Fact: YouTuber PewDiePie reportedly made a whopping $6.8 million in one year just from selling merch.

3. Super Chat: Virtual Tip Jar

During live streams, your fans can pay real moolah to pin their comments to the chat. It’s a fantastic way for your followers to show some love and for you to acknowledge their support on-air.

Cool Fact: Some YouTubers earn hundreds to thousands of dollars in a single live stream thanks to Super Chat. Who knew chat could be so… super?

4. Channel Memberships: VIP Access

Think of this as an exclusive club for your most hardcore fans. For a monthly fee, members can get access to badges, emojis, exclusive videos, behind-the-scenes content, and more. It’s like Patreon but built right into YouTube.

Cool Fact: Some creators earn more from channel memberships than they do from ad revenue. It’s all about giving value to your biggest supporters.

5. Affiliate Marketing: Get a Cut

If you’re talking about your gear or recommending products, why not get a cut? By joining affiliate programs, you can earn a commission every time someone buys a product through your link.

Cool Fact: Musicians can join affiliate programs for instruments, sound equipment, online courses, and more. Even if your niche is super specific (like underwater banjo playing), there’s probably an affiliate program out there for you.

6. Sponsored Videos: The Power of Partnerships

Brands love to team up with content creators, especially those with a loyal following. They might send you gear to review, or even pay you to feature their products in your videos. Win-win!

Cool Fact: While the big bucks typically go to channels with massive followings, even smaller channels can land sponsorships. It’s all about having an engaged audience.

7. YouTube Premium Revenue

This is for all the fancy folks who pay for YouTube Premium to avoid ads. When they watch your content, you get a piece of their subscription fee. Sweet, right?

Cool Fact: Around 20 million people have YouTube Premium. That’s a lot of potential coin for your musical bank.

8. Cover Songs and Rights Management

Love doing covers? With the right permissions, you can earn money from them. YouTube has a system called Content ID. When someone uses your music in their video (or if you cover someone else’s song), YouTube detects it. Ad revenue from that video can then be shared with the original artist, and if you’ve got the right licenses, with you too.

Cool Fact: In some cases, covering a trending song can get you more views and ad revenue than some of your original music.

9. Licensing and Sync Deals: The Unsung Heroes

While YouTube is a platform primarily for video content, don’t overlook its potential as a hotspot for talent scouts and music supervisors. When your song gets picked up for a TV show, ad, or movie, it’s called a sync deal. If your content is outstanding and unique, it might just get noticed and selected for a project.

Cool Fact: You don’t need to be a top-charting artist for this. Many indie musicians have had their tracks picked up for commercials or indie films, earning them a tidy sum.

10. YouTube Music and Vevo: The Musical Siblings

Got a dope music video or track? YouTube Music and Vevo might be platforms to consider. They specialize in songs and music videos, allowing artists to reach listeners in a more focused environment. Plus, they often come with promotional perks if your content starts trending.

Cool Fact: Some artists have seen their careers skyrocket after trending on YouTube Music’s ‘Hotlist’, or Vevo’s front page. Exposure can translate into downloads, merchandise sales, and even concert tickets.

11. Collaborations: Double the Fun, Double the Fans

Collaborating with other YouTubers can introduce your music to a whole new audience. Whether it’s a duet with another musician, or simply having your track as the background for a popular YouTuber’s video, the crossover potential is massive.

Cool Fact: Artists like Justin Bieber and Charlie Puth gained significant traction from early YouTube collaborations.

12. Teach and Earn: Tutorials and Lessons

If you’re a master at a particular instrument or have unique vocal techniques, why not share the knowledge? Music tutorials, especially for popular songs or tricky techniques, can rack up tons of views. And with views come ad dollars.

Cool Fact: Some guitar tutorial channels have over a million subscribers. There’s a huge audience eager to learn.

13. Digital Concerts: The New Normal

COVID-19 revolutionized how we consume live music, with many musicians turning to YouTube to host digital concerts. Even as the world reopens, the appeal of online gigs remains. They’re accessible to a global audience and can be monetized through ticket sales, Super Chats, or even exclusive merch drops.

Cool Fact: Major artists like BTS have hosted online concerts with ticket sales, racking up millions in revenue.

14. Playlist Features: The Subtle Moneymaker

Being featured on a popular YouTube playlist can drive continuous traffic to your songs. Some channels curate playlists for specific moods, genres, or activities. Reaching out and getting your track listed can lead to a steady flow of new listeners.

Cool Fact: Ambient and lo-fi study playlists have become insanely popular, with some tracks garnering millions of views without any significant promotion.

15. Custom Jingles: Yes, They’re Still a Thing

Brands and other content creators on YouTube often need custom jingles or background music. If you’ve got a knack for catchy tunes, this could be a steady revenue source. Offer your services and build a portfolio. Before you know it, you might be the go-to musician for custom YouTube sounds.

Cool Fact: A memorable jingle can stick in people’s minds for years. Remember the McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” tune? Yup, that’s the power of a jingle.

16. Monetize Behind-the-Scenes Content: A Peek Behind the Curtain

Fans love seeing the process behind their favorite songs. Recording sessions, songwriting snippets, or even tour vlogs can all be content gold. These videos not only deepen the connection with your audience but can also be monetized just like your music.

Cool Fact: Some artists find that their behind-the-scenes content gets more engagement than their official music videos, as fans love the authenticity.

17. Feedback and Review Sessions: Constructive Cash Flow

Host live sessions where you review budding artists’ tracks for a fee. It’s a win-win. They get valuable feedback, and you get both cash and content.

Cool Fact: This interactive model not only monetizes your expertise but also fosters a supportive music community.

18. Exclusive Video Premieres: Hype It Up!

Before dropping a new track or video, build anticipation by hosting an exclusive premiere on YouTube. Charge an entry fee or make it available for channel members only. It’s a great way to reward loyal fans and boost income.

Cool Fact: Premieres can create a buzz, often leading to a spike in views once the content is publicly available.

19. Direct Fan Funding: Because Why Not?

While platforms like Patreon are more popular for direct fan funding, nothing’s stopping you from sharing a PayPal or Ko-fi link in your video descriptions. Die-hard fans might just throw a few bucks your way out of sheer appreciation.

Cool Fact: Direct fan funding is one of the most transparent ways to support creators, with the majority of the money going straight to the artist.

To Sum It All Up…

Can musicians make money on YouTube? Heck, yes! But like any epic gig, it requires passion, dedication, and a sprinkle of business savvy. It’s not just about strumming your guitar and waiting for the cash to roll in. It’s about engaging with fans, diversifying your income streams, and consistently delivering rockin’ content.

So, whether you’re a solo act or part of a band, YouTube could be your ticket to turning those melodies into moolah. Rock on!