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Are You Actually Monetizing Your YouTube Channel?

1While it may seem like a dumb question, since most artists/labels have at least some level of monetization system set up, it can be fairly easy for artists to miss out on earning money via their actual channel. Here Chris Robley walks us through ensuring you get your due.

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Guest post by Chris Robley of DIY Musician

How to know if your channel is eligible for monetization through the YouTube Partner Program.

Are you really monetized on YouTube?

That might seem like a silly question since most musicians have some level of monetization happening, whether it’s subscription revenue from YouTube Premium or ad revenue for audio that Content ID has recognized in user-generated videos.

But is your actual channel earning money?

Being a part of a network (such as CD Baby’s YouTube network — Illustrated Sound) does NOT automatically guarantee you’re fully monetized.

Since the YouTube Partner Program criteria applies to ALL channels, it’s important to know where you stand and how to meet all the minimum criteria

Here’s how to find out if your YouTube channel is fully monetized:

  1. Go to YouTube Analytics 
  2. Change the custom date-range to the last 365 days
  3. See “Watch Time” across your entire channel*
  4. Divide total minutes of watch time by 60
  5. That’s your total hours of watch time for the past year!

* In the Classic Analytics view, you’ll have the option to view total Watch Time in hours.

If you’re not caught up on the recent changes to YouTube’s monetization criteria, head here.

Now, what does your annual watch time tell you?

If your annual watch time is MORE than 4000 hours…

Great! You’re all set. Your channel is fully monetized. 

If your annual watch time is LESS than 4000 hours…

You should focus on boosting your watch-time. 

How to increase your watch time on YouTube:

  • Look at your audience retention stats to see what percentage of viewers are sticking around to view your content in its entirety. 
  • Find trends in your most popular content and use similar ideas in your new videos. 
  • Not much content on your channel? That right there could explain the low watch time. Make more videos!

YouTube isn’t a place to passively park your music videos. It’s a platform that expects you to engage with your audience, upload content frequently, and share all kinds of stuff — not JUST traditional music videos.

Hopefully this helps clarify some things about YouTube monetization, but if you have questions, check out Everything you need to know about your music on YouTube.

Make Money on YouTube

is the Editor of CD Baby's DIY Musician Blog. I write Beatlesque indie-pop songs that've been praised by No Depression, KCRW, The LA Times, & others. My poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, Prairie Schooner, The Poetry Review, & more. I live in Maine and like peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, a little too much.

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