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How much does YouTube pay per stream in 2024?

How much does YouTube pay per stream in 2024?

We’re at a time when music discovery is generated by so much more than the romantic stories of the right manager in the right dark club in Hamburg spotting four fresh-faced Liverpudians. These days, new music can come from a host of sources, something as easy as hearing something in the background of a video that a friend shared via social media, or a simple shuffle. 

The path to viral status is still improperly charted, but there is a good chance that having a presence on the platform that is second in engagement worldwide is a start. Yep! YouTube is, as of January 2024, the site that ranks second in worldwide online engagement, only trailing Google Search, which is no small feat. 

But what does it mean to be on YouTube as a creator? What should you be mindful of and how do you set expectations for your return as a content creator on the platform? Below, we look into YouTube payouts, how they work, how to maximize them, as well as a quick FAQ. 

How does YouTube pay musicians?

There are essentially two major ways in which artists get paid for their content on the platform. Both are fairly straightforward and have to do directly with how YouTube itself manages its relationship with users. 

YouTube Music

Artists are paid directly on YouTube music, which operates like a regular music streaming service, where the foundation is similar to any other major streamer, like Spotify. In this case, streams generate revenue based on plays from users who subscribe to the platform, and the artists receive royalties.

The payout on YouTube Music is $0.008 per stream. That may not seem like a lot, but in contrast to other major platforms, it’s among the upper tiers. Artists can expect to post their music on the platform and get one of the higher rates available out there. 

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This one is a little more complicated and needs a bit of explanation. If the music streaming platform has a standard payout, music content posted on YouTube has two major ways of generating content, which pays out separate rates. 

  • Content ID - as an artist, you can sign up for content monetization by setting up Content ID, which is essentially the primary tool of making money from your music on the platform. After signing up, YouTube can track all material posted with the music you created, enabling you to generate revenue from all user generated content on YouTube. By listening to your song and remembering it, YouTube can then search for all instances where your song has been used, then place ads on said content (if applicable) to generate revenue. Content ID payouts come in at $0.00087 per stream. 
  • Another way of generating revenue, and a more monetarily efficient one to boot, is uploading content through a verified artist account. Music payouts on the musician’s official channel provide a higher payout, coming in at $0.00164 per stream.  

How does it work?

In order to be able to make money through the three major ways music can be monetized, there are a few things you need to do. The first one is pretty obvious, but in order to be able to monetize music, you need to own the copyright and publishing for the songs you’re uploading to the platform.

Second, setting up an AdSense account to more closely manage what types of advertising will be attached to your content is an option, but is a fairly labor intensive process. The standard way of getting ads attached is fully automated and done through the Adsense Auction system, which calculates factors like demographics, level of engagement and the type of video. 

As we’ve seen, revenue can come in through different sources, but payouts are bundled together and are delivered to artists on a monthly basis. Working with a company that operates in the music business and can handle things like distribution and payment processing across platforms can be a helpful step in the right direction. 

What can affect pay rates?

So, we’ve seen how much each kind of revenue stream available on YouTube’s platforms works and the rates at which they pay out per play, but there are some modifiers in that process that you need to be mindful of. Make sure that you’re on top of what your major sources for income are, to be able to better plan what your revenue is. 

There are varying payout rates within YouTube that are essentially linked to how much ad revenue can be generated, based on the location of users streaming the content. With prices varying for the YouTube Music service in some locations, payouts generated by streams in those locations will likely yield less than those in countries with top tier plans. Therefore, there is a significant difference in payouts between views that originate in the U.S. (the $0.00087 rate mentioned above). 

Boosting your earnings

As we mentioned at the start, viral status is usually elusive to those that try too hard, as getting there isn’t what you’d call an exact science. However, there are things that you should be doing to make sure that you have a chance at maximizing your returns. 

Stay active on social media, promote your music online and stay in touch with your fanbase to build an engaged community. These factors contribute to your music’s growth potential and can prove valuable assets as you try to turn your creations into a consistent, growing revenue stream. 

We know art relies on inspiration, but the more consistent your output is, the more you can be present and be part of the conversation. Follow other bands, labels and figures in the industry to make sure that you’re aware of the main conversations in the space and contribute if you feel that you have a meaningful contribution. 

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Frequently asked questions

How much does YouTube Music pay per stream?

Creators will receive $0.008 for listens via YouTube Music. That’s one of the higher yields an artist can expect from one of the major music streaming services.

How much does YouTube pay per stream?

An artist’s official music channels can take in $0.00164 per stream, while monetization through Content ID comes in at $0.00087. That comes from other users posting videos that use the artist’s music. 

Join Xposure Music and gain access to some of the best music industry professionals in the U.S. Top experts from Sony, Columbia, Def Jam, or Universal have already joined our platform, and they’re ready to give invaluable, on-point feedback on your work, which can help you land that dream record deal or publishing deal you’ve been working towards. Sign up now and reap the rewards.

If you’re looking to kickstart your music career but have limited resources, we can help you get funding for your next project while staying in control of your own work and career trajectory. You keep 100% ownership of your masters and get an advance ranging from $1,000 to $3 million to get your career off the ground. Get an estimate now and start turning your dream into reality.

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Gregory Walfish
Co-founder of Xposure Music, Gregory Walfish stands at the intersection of music, tech, and culture. With a software engineering background, he's passionate about artist development and technology.

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