Over the past couple of years, YouTube has undeniably become a growing force in Africa. Indeed, YouTube reported in a company blog post that “the number of hours of video content in Africa being uploaded has doubled year over year for the past two years” and that “the audience has grown with it with watch time on mobile phones growing 120% year over year”.
In an effort to better adjust to that growing demand, YouTube has been hard at work for the past year on an offline feature for viewers in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa. This feature should help Internet users get around the issue of costly and slow mobile data connections.
A growing viewership means a growing opportunity for you, as an independent musician, to gain more fans and make more money on YouTube. But how?
Turn views into money
Whether you are posting videos on your channel yourself or your fans are uploading your music as the soundtrack to their videos, there are a number of ways you can collect earnings from those videos. In this article, we’ll tackle some of the basics of how you can get that revenue too.
Where does the money come from?
Advertisers pay money to YouTube in order to show their ads next to videos. The person who owns the content in a video that displays an ad is entitled to a share of that money, and that person can be you. Whether you created a video yourself or your music is on another person’s video, you might be owed some ad revenue if the video featured an ad paid for by an advertiser.
Ads can be seen from a variety of countries, which YouTube refers to as ‘monetised markets’. In Africa, these monetised markets include Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. For you, this means that when your fans are located in these countries and they are watching your videos on YouTube, the views they generate can be turned into earnings.
How do I collect my money?
There are a couple of ways to collect the money that your music generates on YouTube.
If you have your own YouTube channel, you can link your channel to a Google AdSense account, which collects money earned from YouTube ads on your channel and deposits it into your bank account.
The first challenge of this method is that it requires an active bank account or the use of a credit card. In addition, you might need to already have a minimum number of views on your channel to be accepted into the programme. This method also misses out on the earnings you might make if other people are using your music on their channel.
An easier and faster way to collect your money from across all YouTube channels would be to sign up with a music distributor like TuneCore, which enables you to make money from your music wherever it appears on YouTube. TuneCore will then do the work of sending your tracks to YouTube and collect the money generated by advertisements on videos that feature your music. The money they collect for you will then be sent directly to your TuneCore account. TuneCore takes a 20% commission.
If you think YouTube might be a good platform for your music, it’s important to set up a way to collect the money you’re owed ahead of time, because these services can’t collect money from past video views, and you never know when your music might go viral. A great example of instant YouTube success is US rapper Silento and his viral hit ‘Watch Me’. Within days of its release, hundreds of thousands of fans were uploading their own renditions of the song on Vine and YouTube. Silento and his producer, Bolo Da Producer, worked with TuneCore to collect all their eligible revenue from multiple channels from view one.
TuneCore is currently running a 30% discount that applies to an artist’s first release. Part of the promotion also gives artists free access to TuneCore’s YouTube Sound Collection Service (normally $10) after they distribute. The promotion runs until 30 August 2017.
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