What does YouTube pay its creators for their videos and how much do artists earn from their music?

YouTube is the biggest source of user-created content in the world and is packed with more video content and music than we could watch or listen to in 100 lifetimes. It has also become a career maker for many creators around the world who have found huge success with their videos, garnering enough popularity to make money from their videos.

We’ve all heard of the YouTubers who take on creating as a full time job, but many of us know that the life of a YouTube creator is not an easy one to get to. Creators with millions of consistent views a week can realistically earn enough to sustain themselves but there’s a reason it takes such a significant audience to become a real earner. That’s because a single view isn’t worth a whole lot and it takes many fractional earnings to add up to a healthy portion.

In recent years YouTube have changed the way that they sort and distribute payments for music, to bring their payouts for artists more in-line with other music streaming services. Beforehand, plays of videos and streams of music on the platform were worth the same (though this still depended on a lot of variable factors as to what it was really worth.)

So what do YouTube actually pay for streams of music and for plays of videos? The answer isn’t straightforward but let’s explore what we know.

How much do YouTube pay for video views?

There is no definitive flat rate that YouTube will ever pay out for views on any videos or for streams on the music available on their platforms. Streaming rates (both video and music) can radically fluctuated based on a number of variables, including: the territory the viewer/listener is in, whether they’re a free or paid user, and how many plays all other content has received.

We can however make an educated guess based on the data that is available to us as to what the average stream might be worth. Digital Music News presented their royalty rates a few years ago based on data they’d received from artists and have regularly updated it since to represent the most recently accurate estimation.

Their report showed that $0.00069 is how much non-music videos are worth on YouTube. Based on Google Play Music data, YouTube’s music content is worth roughly $0.00676 per stream.

As you can see music is worth a significantly higher amount per play (though certainly not much on its own). This is to bring the worth of music closer to other music streaming services. Remember, these are only estimations based on averages from limited data and do not represent a definitive answer or average.

Looking for more information about how YouTube royalties work? We have a series of articles looking at whether YouTube pay royalties to artists, how creators and musicians can earn royalties from YouTube, how to earn Sync Royalties from YouTube, and how to use royalty free music on YouTube.

Find out how you can earn money on YouTube as an artist by using our free services at RouteNote.