Music on YouTube

Why should I make my music available on YouTube?

Our partnership with YouTube provides several ways for labels to earn royalties for the use of their music on the popular video sharing service.  One way to do this is to upload music videos, lyric videos etc. to a partnered (monetised) label or artist channel.  In addition to the potential for generating revenue, there are some other reasons why it might be a good idea to have your music available on YouTube, such as…

  1. Search engine rankings
    YouTube search results are integrated with the Google search engine and YouTube pages tend to rank very highly in search results. YouTube is actually The Web’s #2 search engine in its own right. So, if someone is looking for your music, the two most likely places they’ll try first are Google and YouTube.
  2. It’s probably already on there
    If you haven’t already posted videos of your music onto a YouTube channel, someone else probably has. Although, through content ID (see below) we can monetise these ‘UGC’ videos, we should try and make sure that the best videos available are label-endorsed videos that you control, that are well-presented and with tags and descriptions optimised for search engine placement, cross-promotion of your artists/albums and advertising revenue.

What are the advantages of monetising my YouTube channel through Kudos?

Any YouTube channel owner can click a button, tick a box and sign-up to share advertising revenue from videos on their channel. If you have already done this then you are under YouTube’s “standard partnership agreement”. However, through our association with Merlin, Kudos channels have “Premium Partner” status which gives us access to the full suite of rights-owner management tools. This offers several major advantages over the standard model and is tailored to managing and monetising music rights.

Automatic Video Creation and Delivery

Kudos can create and deliver automatically generated videos for any (or indeed every) track in you catalogue straight to your nominated YouTube channel(s). These Kudos generated ‘videos’ (the audio track accompanied by sleeve or label artwork) are fully tagged and optimised both for search and cross promotion/upsell. Here is an example below;

Premium Content
As a premium partner, the content you produce (including AVCD videos) are treated as premium content. This attracts better quality advertising on your monetised videos and provides a higher revenue share than the standard agreement. It can also affect your videos search rankings for instance, if someone else re-uploads your video, YouTube knows yours is the original and gives it priority.

Content ID

YouTube’s automatic audio and video recognition service
As a standard partner you can upload a video that you own the rights to and elect to monetise it. However, you have very little control if another user re-uploads that video or uses a section of video or audio that you own the rights to. As a premium partner, not only can you better monetise the video on your own channel but, as a rights-holder,  you can instruct YouTube to scour their service for every other use of your video and monetise those too. We also have the ability to block or remove videos which abuse your assets.

How can I partner my channel with Kudos?

To partner your channel with us you need to log in to your portal.  Navigate to Channels > YouTube and enter you channel details into the form.

Provided your channel is not already being administered by another Premium Partner (as may be the case if you have moved to Kudos from another distributor) we’ll be able to ‘claim’ your channel straight away.  We’ve created a separate document which describes the few steps involved after you’ve submitted the form on the portal so you can share these with whoever runs the channel if you do not have access yourself.

If your channel is already administered by another YouTube Partner then we will need to arrange for it to be transferred Kudos.  This can’t be done from your YouTube channel so make sure to select the appropriate option when you complete the form and we’ll get in touch.

So, will Kudos control my YouTube channel?

No. When you partner your channel with us, you still log into your YouTube account as normal. You upload videos in the same way and still have all the standard features. You’ll have access to some additional options (which are explained below) but everything will look pretty much the same. Although we will be able to upload videos to your channel through our automated delivery feed (such as the videos you generate in the portal if you wish), we can’t log into your google account and we don’t know your passwords. You have control over your channel settings and can choose which videos you want to monetise and the type of advertising that is allowed.

How do I make money from my videos on YouTube?

The majority of revenue generated on YouTube is through advertising.  When videos are enabled for monetisation, adverts may be shown on them and YouTube share the fee paid by the advertiser with the owner of the video.  Note that in April 2018 YouTube introduced rules which mean that a channel must achieve 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch-time over the previous 12 months before advertising is enabled.  YouTube also now also offers monthly “premium” subscriptions.  As paid subscribers aren’t shown adverts, they don’t generate advertising revenue but video owners receive a share of the subscription revenue instead.

When your account is linked to our partner agreement you won’t start making money from your videos automatically. You have to ‘claim’ the videos that you wish to monetise. Obviously, you should only claim videos where you have the right to do so. Any videos that Kudos upload on your behalf will be claimed automatically based on the information you’ve given us in the portal. However, when you upload a video yourself (or edit an existing video) you’ll see a “Claiming Options” tab with some options that relate to monetising your video. Here’s a quick guide to what those options mean;

Usage Policy
This refers to how YouTube should treat that particular video on your channel. In general you will want to set this to “monetize in all countries” if you have the right to monetise it. If you don’t have the right to distribute or monetise the video worldwide, you can restrict where the video is available by selecting “block by country” from the edit drop-down menu in your video manager.

Enable Content ID Matches
Selecting this option enables YouTube to create a “fingerprint” of your video which is used detect videos uploaded by other people which are a full or partial match to your video. These third-party videos are then claimed on your behalf using the rule that you specify. By activating this you are declaring that the video is 100% original content for which you have the right to exploit and enforce copyright. You should never activate it for any videos which contain any unlicensed third-party audio/video or any public domain material. In most cases you’ll want to pick the “Kudos recommended” option, which monetizes matched videos which use more than a small portion of your video. This time threshold allows for fair-use reduces the number of incorrect matches to videos which are incidentally similar for a few seconds. Bare in mind that this policy will be applied Worldwide. You’ll have to contact us if you need to apply a regional policy.

What type of asset should I use?

The asset type you pick affects what type of information you are able to enter and can also affect the way your video is monetised. Here’s a little guide to asset types and when/how to use them.

This is intended for videos which have been primarily produced for use on the web and as such don’t have any product identifiers such as ISRCs or UPCs associated with them. Essentially, if it doesn’t fit any of the other asset types, you should use this one.  You should never use this option for music videos.

TV Episode
This option is intended for videos which were originally created for Television and have been broadcast as part of a TV series for which you are the production company.  Therefore, it is very unlikely that this option will be appropriate to your material. Even if you’re making regular vlog-style videos that you consider to be an ongoing series, they are not TV Episodes. If you are uploading a clip from a TV appearance this is still not a TV Episode (and you probably shouldn’t be claiming it anyway).

Music Video
A video which comprises of a single sound recording accompanied by images or video can be considered a Music Video for our purposes. In addition to title/artist etc. you can enter the ISRC of the recording and/or the UPC of the release if you wish. This will enable us to match it to the correct release in our catalogue so it can be reported as a stream of that track in your portal stats and accounting. If you don’t enter any IDs we’ll just report it separately as a video. Note that, while often music videos are allocated a separate ISRC to the sound recording, it is best to use the same one for this purpose.

Selecting this type also tells YouTube that the video contains a single embedded sound recording and composition so adding identifiers will help YouTube match this video to existing sound recordings and compositions on their system. This helps them find links to iTunes etc. and aids the flow of publishing royalties. So, if your video uses multiple tracks or contains your music as an accompaniment (i.e. with additional audio over the top), it’s not really a music video.

As you may have guessed this is intended for films. Selecting this type allows you to enter identification codes which relate to professional audiovisual assets. These clearly won’t relate to any identifiers we use in our system so we don’t have any use for them (but you are welcome to enter them if you have them). However, If you’ve made a film that is purely for web distribution then it’s probably web asset.

How Much Money Will I Make?

It’s impossible to predict how much revenue is likely to be generated your videos or those videos which are claimed on your behalf through Content ID matching as the model is very complex and does not work on a simple cost-per-play basis. The amount paid to Kudos is a share of the advertising revenue that has been sold by YouTube. Advertisers ‘bid’ for the advertising space and can select to target their adverts towards videos or users which match certain criteria. Therefore, the videos which make the most revenue-per-view are those which happen to most closely match the viewing habits of an audience which is valuable to those advertisers.

Because of this and a multitude of other factors which affect how your video is monetised, you may well find that your most-viewed video is not the one that generates the most revenue. You will almost certainly find that amount generated by each of your videos will vary greatly. You may also find that the funny clip with the dog, the hosepipe and the skateboard which happens to have a bit of your track playing on the radio in the background out-performs the music video you spent all that money on.

In most cases the amount per-stream will be relatively small (though we have seen notable exceptions) but it can be cumulatively significant. One must also keep in mind that these are not equivalent to a play on a dedicated music service like Spotify or Rdio where the listener receives and on-demand, full-length stream. Some of the videos which are generating money for you may only use a few seconds of the track or only use your music incidentally and are not necessarily being viewed by people deliberately searching for your music.

Where is my video monetised?

Music Videos can only be monetised in territories where YouTube has a deal in place with the local rights collection society (such as PRS in the UK) and they collect on behalf of the publisher directly from YouTube under a separate agreement which clears mechanical and sync royalty. There is one exception to this: for views in the US those royalties are paid on to you directly (just like mechanical royalties on downloads) and you’re responsible for administering this where appropriate.

“Web Assets” may be monetised in a few more territories as there are no additional rights to clear.

What Can I Do to Maximise the Revenue From My Videos?

If you want detailed information about how to make content for YouTube and how to best use the tools available in your channel you can check out the YouTube Creator Playbook which provides strategies for building your YouTube audience and maximising the benefits available through being a YouTube partner. If you want some more insight into how advertisers use YouTube you could even look at the YouTube Advertiser Playbook which is aimed at selling the benefits of YouTube advertising.

At the most basic level there are few things you can do that will certainly help:

  1. Be Active
    Make sure you have at least three public videos at any time and keep your account active. It’s better to add one video each month for 12 months than to add a dozen videos at once and then sit back for the rest of the year.
  2. Good Housekeeping
    Make sure your videos are of good quality and use a title which includes terms that people are likely to be searching for. Give all your videos at least a brief description and add tags to indicate related subjects. This will improve your search position and make your video more likely to be ‘suggested’ by YouTube.
  3. Allow YouTube to decide on advertising options
    YouTube is pretty clever at serving the “ad types” (trueview/pre-roll/display) most tolerated by an individual watcher. Tick ALL the add formats and let YouTube decide on a user by user basis.
  4. Get Subscribers
    Encourage people to subscribe to your channel. Mention it in your newsletters, link to it from your website, put it in the video description etc. When YouTube users subscribe, your video appears on their activity feeds so it gives all your videos visibility. People watching your video are most likely to subscribe (or click any link for that matter) if you actually add a link as an annotation so it appears on the video.
  5. Make Playlists
    Put your videos into playlists so when someone watches one of your videos, they are likely to hang around and watch a few more on your channel and they know where to come to find more.
  6. Include Links
    You can include links in your description and on annotations that appear on top of the video at points you specify. By including the full link including the http:// prefix you will make that link ‘clickable’. You can use this to send people to your website or to a product on iTunes or to information about an upcoming gig or even to another YouTube page. Only the first three lines of a description are show by default so put links and/or the most important information right at the top. Use a url shortening service like to tame bug ugly links. This will also let you easily track how many people are taking the bait.

A quick note about YouTube and compilations.

YouTube rights management logic tends to work on a “one owner for one Master in one territory” basis.  This doesn’t really sit well with licensed in products for compilations, and from our experience, compilation licensors don’t tend to view YouTube as a straight forward streaming service.  Our advice would be DEFINITELY not to employ content ID on tracks you have licensed in for compilations, and PROBABLY not to create auto-generated videos for your channel without first informing your licensor.

Why is Youtube telling me I can’t upload my own music?

A: It isn’t. Read on.

If you upload a video to YouTube which uses any music that is distributed through Kudos Records you may receive a warning message or an email from YouTube saying that it has detected that your video contains copyrighted material that belongs to [Merlin] Kudos Records Ltd.

Why is this happening?
Unless you choose to opt out of “UGC” when you set up a release (it’s in the video section) we will send YouTube a reference file which they can use to match against user-uploaded videos. When YouTube detects that your track is being used on an uploaded video, it generates a message to inform the user about this process. The wording of the message is a little bit unfriendly (and we can’t do anything about that) but it’s nothing to worry about. Anyone who uploads a video that uses your music will also see this message.

What do I need to do?
Nothing. This is a good thing! It simply means that YouTube has correctly matched the reference track that we provided with soundtrack of your video. This means Kudos have some control over how that video is used in order to maximise it’s promotional value and it means that your music is properly credited to your artist wherever it appears on YouTube.

What happens now?
YouTube will add a little microphone icon underneath your video with the basic details of the matched track. It may also add direct links to music services such as iTunes and eMusic to encourage viewers to purchase the track. Kudos will also collect a share of YouTube’s advertising on your behalf and this will be credited to you just like any other digital revenue.

Is my video being blocked?
Certainly not. Your video is still available and, better still, it might generate a few pennies and encourage a few more sales from the embedded referral links. There are no negative consequences for your video or your YouTube account.

Last updated bykudos
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