Published on May 21st, 2014 | by Dylan Lott


How To Increase Your Streaming Revenues From YouTube

Hi BandHacks readers! As a musician in 2014, you’ve probably read your fair share of articles on streaming royalties, and you potentially have your own strong feelings about their benefit or detriment. However, one thing we could all always use is more streaming royalties, and where better to look than the world’s BIGGEST streaming music platform- YouTube!

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My name is Ryan Lucht, and I develop business and marketing systems for musicians, test them out, and write action plans for successful strategies at If you like this article and the way that I present things, be sure to sign up for my mailing list there to get tons of other music business systems like this one delivered to your inbox- free. Otherwise, here we go!

1. Make sure you’re collecting in the first place!

Increase Streaming Revenue from youTube

Before you apply any of the strategies below, the key first step is to make sure that your music is in YouTube’s detection database and that ad revenue is being collecting from any video using your music, and that said ad revenue will actually get paid to you! Many artists will have this taken care of by their distributor. The Orchard does a fantastic job of collecting and maximizing YouTube revenues for me, and many “a la carte” distributors like CD Baby or Tunecore offer different YouTube monetization deals/packages. (I actually would not recommend Tunecore’s YouTube package, as you can only get it if you sign your publishing rights over to them as well, which I view as a generally bad move and misleading/slightly dishonest offer on Tunecore’s part).

However, there are other options as well. Audiam, a startup founded by ex-Tunecore CEO Jeff Price, offers great independent YouTube royalty collection. Unless you’re working with a formal distributor like The Orchard, I’d recommend using Audiam over services from CD Baby or Tunecore (the one advantage that CD Baby has is a promotional platform built-in that will offer your music to video creators looking for music).

In addition, make sure that (if you’re the composer of the actual composition as well as the recording artist) you’re registered with a Performance Rights Organization like BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC, and that your music is properly registered with them. Choosing and registering with a PRO is out of the scope of this article, but you can find a wealth of great information online about these organizations and how to best use them.

Also, last piece of the equation here- if you suspect it may be happening, check in with your distributor and make sure they aren’t outright blocking usage of your music on YouTube or taking down videos or audio tracks. This will be extremely detrimental to your revenues, not to mention it makes you look like a jerk.

2. Upload your own tracks

Remember how I said YouTube is the world’s biggest music streaming service? Masses of people use YouTube to discover new music- usually by clicking around “related videos”. YouTube videos are also the easiest way for fans to share music on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.

You don’t need to have a music video- a still of the album art for the song will do- but obviously the more creative/engaging you make the video the better! Don’t spend too much time trying to craft great slideshows or anything- just focus on getting at least your key singles up on YouTube. Not only is this great marketing, but you can get paid streaming royalties every time the video is played!

3. Encourage Fans to Upload Videos (User-Generated Content)

Sure, uploading your tracks is great, but you’re only one YouTube channel! Want to multiply both the marketing and revenue-generating effects of your music on YouTube? Encourage fans to create content around your music and upload it! This could be anything from dance or lip-sync videos, to music video contests. Get creative and engage your fan base, however small they are.

An equally long article could be written about submitting your music to major “music channels/curators” on YouTube. Perhaps you’ve heard of some of these like Majestic Casual or UKF Dubstep/Drum’n’Bass. Even in small niches, these exist: back when I was running HEY WTF Records, a small instrumental hip-hop channel uploaded one of our artist’s tracks and it got played >10,000 times. All the more streaming revenues for us and the artist! Many of these channels will have submission email addresses to reach out to, or if not, you can message the channel via YouTube to inquire about their preferred submission methods.

4. Push fans to these videos (more views = more revenue)

4 Ways To Get More Out Of Social Media

Remember, the more all of these different videos are being viewed, the more royalties you’ll be making. If a fan makes a dance clip or music video using one of your songs, post it on your social media channels! Not only will you increase your revenue, you’ll also be rewarding your fans, AND sharing great/interesting content on your marketing channels. It’s a win/win/win.


Once you have somebody collecting royalties from YouTube on your behalf, use these 3 simple steps/ideas in order to maximize your revenues, all while creating interesting marketing content and building a strong relationship with your fans. You could go viral (although you probably won’t), get picked up by a major music curation channel, or end of having fans of similar bands check you out!

Again, I’m Ryan Lucht, and I develop business and marketing systems for musicians, test them out, and write action plans for successful strategies at If you think more articles like this could help you grow your career, be sure to sign up for my mailing list there to get tons of other music business systems like this one delivered to your inbox- free! You can also follow me on Twitter @ryanlucht .

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