Over the last few years, YouTube has gone from being a place for watching free user-generated videos of cats playing piano to a place to watch serious music videos to one of the biggest revenue-generating outlets for the music industry.
The Orchard has been working feverishly over the last 2 years to build a new YouTube revenue stream for our clients. Due to the nature of this model (arguably the most complex new revenue stream the music industry has ever seen), we want to keep talking about it so everyone understands.
WHAT MAKES YOUTUBE’S MONETIZATION SO COMPLEX
YouTube’s system crawls its video library of billions of videos and identifies audio tracks controlled by The Orchard. Once a track (often represented on YouTube with the cover art or photo of the band on top of the music) has been claimed as distributed by The Orchard, “buy links” are added to drive viewers to iTunes, Amazon and eMusic. However, there is an additional process required to unlock advertisements around the videos in the United States, which in turn unlocks streaming revenue (where the real money is). YouTube must link the track(s) delivered by Orchard to a publisher YouTube has done a deal with, who represents 100% of the rights to the composition (this is not the case in Europe – this complexity only exists in the US). Since YouTube is a video service, this is a unique rights mapping process other audio streaming services like Spotify don’t have to go through, and YouTube’s system is limited in that it can’t handle multiple publishers with a percentage of ownership.
ONCE WE DELIVER YOUR MUSIC TO YOUTUBE, THERE ARE STILL REASONS WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO MONETIZE IT:
REASON ONE: YouTube has been unable to link the track we delivered to a publisher they have done a deal with in the US, which means videos containing your music are not getting advertisements.
REMEDY: If you control your own publishing on any of the tracks in your catalogue, please sign this amendment to your Orchard Agreement and return via fax to +1-866-625-7384, Attn: YouTube UGC.
RELATED FAQ: Is there anything I can do if I know the publisher of a track does not have a deal with YouTube?
A: No, unfortunately not.
RELATED FAQ: Is there anything I can do if I know there are multiple publishers for any of my tracks in the US?
A: Unfortunately not. YouTube does not currently support a split-publishing situation for a track. Remember, this complexity only affects the streams occurring in the US, and you can still get paid for streams from outside the US)
REASON TWO: Another company is representing the rights to your track, putting the rights in conflict, which means videos containing that track do not get advertisements until the conflict is resolved.
REMEDY: Ensure you have not licensed tracks to any other label in any of the territories you’ve granted The Orchard distribution rights.
REASON THREE: The track is public domain or a cover song, track types that YouTube’s system has trouble differentiating between providers and therefore often does not monetize.
REMEDY: None. Unfortunately, Public Domain tracks almost always have identical versions released by other labels, and YouTube cannot allow 2 identical tracks to co-exist and be monetized. Nothing you can do to unlock streaming revenue for tracks in this category at this time.
REASON FOUR: The track was already delivered on another album of yours (e.g. it’s on a compilation album). Every track can only be in YouTube’s system once.
REMEDY: None. This is YouTube’s policy, and unless the track meets any of the above non-monetizable circumstances, you will get streaming revenue for the track in question, but only for the first delivered version.
REASON FIVE: The track is under 30 seconds. These cannot be monetized.
REASON SIX: There are simply no videos on YouTube containing the track.
REMEDY: Either you, the band, or a fan can upload a viral video (even just the album cover and the song) to YouTube, and then we can unlock revenue.
If you have any questions, please contact your Orchard representative.
The Orchard’s Client Services Team