YouTube Song Royalties

Jeff and Todd Brabec
By Todd Brabec & Jeffrey Brabec

In addition to the licenses that YouTube has with the United States’ performance rights societies for performances of musical compositions on the service, there are also payments now being made for the on-demand streaming and synchronization rights inherent in videos which contain music that are posted by YouTube users.

There are no set fees per use but there is an agreement that royalties will be distributed for both user generated videos which use professional record company produced artist recordings and also for user generated content (“User Videos”).  In both cases, the monetization is based on Net Advertising Revenue related to ads appearing in context with the video.

If the User Video contains a commercially released existing master recording (e.g., a video featuring a user lip synching to a released recording), the music publisher will be paid 15% of the Net Advertising Revenues with the record company which owns the master recording receiving 35%.

If, however, the User Video does not contain a released or distributed recording of a song (e.g., a user doing his or her own version of a song outside of the original master recordings), then the royalty payable to the publisher will be 50% of the Net Advertising Revenue.  This latter amount may be reduced by payments that might be paid to the user by YouTube.

© 2012 Jeff Brabec, Todd Brabec
This article is based on information contained in the new, revised 7th edition of the book "Music, Money, And Success: The Insider's Guide To Making Money In The Music Business" written by Jeffrey Brabec and Todd Brabec (Published by Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales).  See also

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