How Do Musicians Make Money On Youtube (7 Ways To Get Paid)

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Can you make actual money as a musician on YouTube?

I get it; it seems so unreal when you hear of musicians making thousands of dollars from YouTube.
When you’ve put a lot of sweat and tears, but still, your channel looks like a desert.
Nobody knows you’re alive, but don’t get down on yourself. Let me share a few stats with you.

According to Omnicore:

As you can see, there is a massive opportunity for you to make money as a musician on YouTube.
So, how do musicians make money on YouTube?
Before we talk about the money you can make with your YouTube videos, let’s first learn how it works.

How does YouTube work?

Before we dive into how to use your videos to make money, you need to understand YouTube is the second-biggest search engine platform online.
Second only to Google. 
So, it’s a good idea to use it as one platform for your music career.
Like Google, it has specific targeting to get the demographics, topics, and interests of the people that watch your videos.
That way, they can then charge advertisers to promote their ads on your videos. 
You know, those ads that can annoy the crap out of you because it begins when the video starts to get interesting.
But many people are having success with their channels, and that means you can too. You just need a few ideas to make money with your music on YouTube.

Let’s get to it, then.

How do musicians make money on YouTube?

The online world is a big place, and there are a lot of different ways to make money on YouTube. But I’m going to go over seven ways you can make money as a musician.
Now, let me be clear. 
You need not do everything here, but knowing these ways can get the ball rolling with your channel and music.

1. YouTube’s ads for musicians

This is the easiest way to make money with your music videos. You can let advertisers put ads on your videos. But you need to qualify for the YouTube Partner program first.
This is what you need:

  • To have accumulated 4,000 hours of video watch-time in the past 12 months
  • To have 1,000 subscribers

You may have that already, but if you haven’t, then keep working to get there. If you need help, then let Maurice help you with his free YouTube 101 ebook to grow your audience.

If you already qualify, but don’t have ads turned on, then follow the steps YouTube gives you.

  1. Sign in to YouTube.
  2. Go to YouTube Studio.
  3. On the left menu, select Videos.
  4. Select a video.
  5. On the left menu, select Monetization.
  6. Choose the ads you want to run.
  7. Click Save.

2. Monetize any video on YouTube that uses your music.

This is one I didn’t know about, but that you need to know. 
But before you jump in and try to find out if anybody is using your music, there are a few things you need to know.
YouTube can say it better than me, so let me share what they have on their website.
Some cover songs may be eligible for monetization. To be eligible, the music publisher must claim the song through the Content ID system and elect to monetize it.
If they haven’t claimed the song, you can’t monetize your video unless you have explicit written permission from the rights’ owner of the song.
Using any commercial sound recording, such as an instrumental, karaoke recording, or live concert performance by the artist, is not eligible for monetization.”
If you want to learn more, see how Sync Licensing your music works, or go to their monetizing eligible cover videos.

3. Test the waters with sponsorships

When you grow a big following, different companies, individuals, or events may contact you to sponsor them on your videos.
It’s all up to you to accept it, but it’s a good way to have another stream of income coming your way.
If you have sponsorship in one video, you need to let YouTube know by selecting the paid promotion box in your video details.

4. Learn affiliate marketing 

This is one of the easiest ways to make money with YouTube videos, even as a musician. 
What you need to do is promote products as an affiliate and earn a commission. You can share links to iTunes, Amazon MP3, or Google Play for people to download music or apps.
If you’ve gone through an online course in reading music or learning an instrument, you can recommend those as an affiliate for that course.
Now, there are a few things you should keep in mind when you promote other people’s products or services:

  • Try to recommend stuff you’ve used or gone through
  • Promote stuff that can help your audience

I know you want to make money with your music channel, but if you’re not helping people, they’re going to notice that you’re only in it for the money.
Always keep your focus on making content that is valuable for your best viewer and/or fan.

5. Create physical products/merch

In your YouTube music channel career, creating your own products or services is a good idea.
You get to know your audience, and you’re going to see what they would like best as merch.
A good place to start selling merch is Bandcamp. It is a free online music store, where you can design and sell your own merch and more!

6. Start a blog/website and learn to monetize it

This might be weird to tell you to start a blog when you want to learn how to make money as a musician on YouTube, but hear me out.
It doesn’t matter if you grow a massive audience on YouTube, at the end of the day you don’t own that platform.
And I’m sure you’ve heard the horror stories of YouTube closing down channels just because. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to you, but having your own website as a musician where you can have your music is always a safe bet.
By all means, keep growing your YouTube channel, but don’t let it be your home base.
Start a website where you can house your music and where you can start a conversation. Trust me, you’re going to thank me later.

7. Use Patreon to support your work

You’ve probably heard of Patreon or seen a lot of YouTubers use it to make money online. This is what Patreon says they can help you make money as a musician on YouTube:
On Patreon, you can let your fans become active participants in the work they love by offering them a monthly membership. You give them access to exclusive content, community, and insight into your creative process. In exchange, you get the freedom to do your best work, and the stability you need to build an independent creative career.
Just grow an audience, but more than that, a community of active fans that love what you do. Fans that want to support you and your music.
It might take some work to get there, but if you’re passionate about your music, people will see that and support you.
We’ve seen seven ways to make an income with your music channel, but let me show you one musician that is doing it the right way.

An outstanding example of a music channel making money on YouTube.

It’s one thing for me to say that you can make money on YouTube, but it’s very different when you see people that are actually doing it.
Let me show how one music channel is doing it.

Scott’s Bass Lessons


Meet Scott Devine from Scott’s Bass Lessons, and he has 821k subscribers to his YouTube channel. His channel has 105 million views with 668 uploaded videos.
His most popular video called ‘Slap Bass Lesson – Beginner/Intermediate – with Scott Devine (L#74)’ has over 3 million total views.
So, what can you learn from Scott about making money from his YouTube channel?
First, he has a blog where he sells his own courses and seminars, where he caters to beginners, intermediates, and advanced users. This is probably the best thing he’s doing for himself and his music channel.
That’s why it’s a good idea to start a blog, just saying.

Second, he’s focusing on just one type of instrument, bass guitar. He’s not talking about other types of instruments or other types of guitars, just bass.
As a musician you need to ask yourself, what do I want to do with my music? And, what am I gonna focus on?
Having a focus, in this case, a niche within your music channel can get you more visibility and a bigger audience.
To get the ball rolling let me share a few tips so you can grow your audience on YouTube.

A few tips to grow an audience on YouTube to make more money.

I want to share five easy tips that you can start doing to help grow your YouTube channel. These are just a few you can apply to your YouTube business:

1. Always try to create quality and engaging videos for your channel.

2. Always engage with your audience in the comments and everywhere else you have a presence online.

3. Create eye-catching video thumbnails that grab people’s attention.

4. Create a playlist for your videos, this can keep people on your channel and increase your watch time.

5. Promote your videos on relevant social media platforms and embed them on your blog (if you don’t have a blog you should create one).

One thing to remember is it’s not enough to just make videos. You need to market your channel if you want to make money.

Could this work for you?

Absolutely, but only if you put the work in.
Growing a YouTube channel is hard work, but rewarding, especially when you start seeing your audience growing and getting more traction with your videos.
But these ways to monetise your music channel can give you that freedom you’re looking for. Not just to grow a successful YouTube channel, but to have the freedom to keep playing the music you love.
In the meantime, check out the Free YouTube for Musicians Booklet to get started with your YouTube Artist Channel.

Many thanks to Javier Velazquez for writing this amazing blog post.

Maurice from