An ultimate guide for independent artists who want to learn how to make money on YouTube.
Written by amuse
YouTube is the #2 most engaged website online (read that again😲). The platform has the power of reaching more people between the ages of 18 and 34 than any other social media platform, opening up the doors for independent artists to get a nice paycheck from their hard work.
So how do you make money on YouTube? What is brand sponsorship? Why should you care about YouTube Content ID? To answer all your questions, we put together this guide for artists wanting to start monetizing on YouTube (to make that $$$).
The main method of earning money on YouTube is through advertisements. Whether that means opting in for ads on music videos or for other original content posted.
Once you hit 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours over a one-year period, you are eligible to apply for the YouTube Partner Program. Make sure you’re based in a country where the YouTube Partner Program is available by clicking here.
There are several perks to joining the YouTube Partner Program, the main one being that Google manages everything for you. From ad placement to managing revenue collection and payments, Google’s got your back.
Steps to join YouTube Partner Program:
Once you’ve followed these steps, go back to your dashboard and click the Analytics tab on the left menu. You’ll need to choose Revenue from the tabs at the top and scroll down to find the Monthly Estimated Revenue chart. This will give you insight into your predicted YouTube revenue.
Now that you have opted in for the monetization option, ads will start running on your channel. These ads will be based on the relevance to the YouTube channel’s original videos that you’ve registered with. You won’t be able to choose what ads are run since that will be controlled by Google.
There are different types of YouTube ads that can run across your videos: Skippable In-stream ads, Non-skippable In-Stream ads, and Bumper ads.
Skippable In-Stream Ads
Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads
To learn about the other kinds of YouTube ads that weren't mentioned above, click here.
Keep in mind that joining the YouTube Partner Program is a one-time thing, so you don’t need to worry about reapplying or setting it up again (😅). Just focus on growing your YouTube channel and collecting that ad revenue, letting Google’s AdSense work its magic!
If you have an established fan base (big or small), selling merch online is a great way to further that connection with your stans!
So what is a YouTube Merch Shelf? In YouTube’s own words, “the Merch shelf allows eligible creators to showcase their official branded merchandise on YouTube. If a channel is eligible, the shelf may surface on their videos' watch pages, but may not show for all videos.”
To check if you’re eligible click here.
Source: Industry Observer
Steps to linking your merch shop to your channel:
When it comes to showing off your merch on YouTube, visibility is key! Learn how to organize and manage your YouTube Merch Shelf here.
If you’re not eligible yet to create a Merch Shelf, here is a great video that breaks down how you can still create and sell your merch on YouTube:
Brand sponsorship is a partnership between you as an artist/content creator and another brand or company. Usually, if you have a bigger YouTube account, brands will reach out asking if you would like to work with them. But if you’re still growing your YouTube account, you will need to select a sponsor you would like to work with and reach out to them. Together, you will decide on a deal where you fundamentally promote their service, product, or brand and in return, you will get paid.
The main requirement for securing a brand sponsorship is having a highly-engaged audience. It doesn’t matter if you only have 1000 subscribers, as long as they are actively engaging with the content you are posting.
Before we look at how you would secure a sponsorship, let’s break down the three main types of YouTube sponsorships you can use to monetize your channel:
Now that you’re in the loop of what different types of sponsorships there are, here’s how to land one.🤝
1. Reach out to brands
First, put together a media kit. A media kit is basically your YouTube resume that you will share during outreach to brands. If you don’t know where to start, Canva has great templated media kits that you can use to get the layout down.
Here’s what you should include in your media kit:
☑️ Number of subscribers on your channel and hours viewed (from the past year).
☑️ Other statistics from your other social media channels (Instagram, TikTok, Twitter).
☑️ Information about your niche and audience demographics.
☑️ If you have examples of previous partnerships or collaborations that you’ve done, include that!
Next, think about some brands that align with your online branding and existing audience. Write down what products you enjoy using and would recommend to your friends. Make sure you’re showing your fans consistency by choosing brands that are the most relevant, exciting, and valuable to your audience.
Once you have your list, do a search for key phrases like “brand name YouTube sponsorship” or “brand name influencer program” to learn if they have a process already in place.
If a brand or company you want to work with doesn’t have an official sponsorship page, you can reach out through email. Go to their “contact us” page and look for an email related to press, marketing, or partnerships (not their general company email for their customers).
When you send your outreach email, include your media kit and any other helpful channel analytics. Remember to pitch what they will gain from working with you clearly so you stand out from other artists and creators who are also doing outreach.
2. Use YouTube sponsorship platforms
YouTube has its own sponsorship platform where brands and creators can connect and set up collaborations. YouTube Brand Connect is the platform’s own influencer marketplace where you can arrange brand deals and sponsorships within their own ecosystem.
To join, you will first need to be part of the YouTube Partner Program. Right now, the marketplace is only available in the USA, UK, and Canada, with more countries being added to the list soon.
Source: YouTube Brand Connect
If you aren’t located in these countries, Grapevine Village is another great platform that connects brands and creators. You will however need at least 10,000 subscribers on YouTube or 10,000 followers on Instagram to sign up, if you’re not there quite yet, focus first on growing your channels.
Source: Grapevine Village
3. Reach out through your other social media channels
If you’re still growing your YouTube channel but your presence on other social media platforms is strong (Instagram, TikTok, Twitter), you can start by packaging your Instagram for example with your YouTube content.
How much does YouTube pay for sponsorships?
It’s no secret that bigger YouTube channels have become a very lucrative source of revenue. Channels with over 100K active subscribers can make up to $330 to $7,400+ on average from sponsorships, based on per 1000 views and watch time.
Klear, who studied the channels of over 2,500 influencers, found the following average rates based on the influencer’s audience size:
If you’re not already putting time into building out your YouTube channel and reaching out to brands to secure sponsorships — this is your sign!
YouTube Content ID is a service by request to amuse Pro/Boost users, helping you identify whenever your music is used in a video on YouTube. The tool can also be used to monetize videos that have used your music without your permission.
Only original music is eligible for YouTube Content ID, meaning samples or any other elements that are deemed a copyright infringement on YouTube’s policy, are denied YouTube Content ID.
Keep in mind that when YouTube Content ID is added, YouTube Music is automatically included as well. This is a requirement from YouTube's side.
How do I request it?
Since it’s an amuse Pro/Boost feature, you will need to upgrade your account if you’re on amuse Start. For Pro users, it's available for no extra charge. For Boost users, there's a 15% fee for Content ID ad revenue.
When does Content ID start claiming?
When the Content ID is added to your track, it will start processing every video ever uploaded on YouTube immediately. Content ID prioritizes scanning the most popular videos on YouTube before it moves on to scan the videos with less engagement.
It can sometimes take up to 6 months before Content ID has scanned all the videos and claimed the correct content. Remember, patience is key! 🔑
What happens if someone uses my music in their video?
User-generated content is another main way music artists make money on YouTube: meaning someone has uploaded a video using your music throughout. You earn money each time someone uses your tracks, and this content is picked up automatically by YouTube’s Content ID system.
Sometimes the system can miss your song. This happens when the creator uses a short clip of your song or alters it just enough to make it undetectable by YouTube’s software. It’s hard to identify these missed usages, but some artists manually comb through YouTube or hire a company that helps uncover videos that have used your music.
Now you’ve discovered some ways to make money on YouTube! But before the revenues start to trickle in, read our guide on how to make some extra cash as an independent artist.