YouTube adds Shorts revenue sharing, expands Partner Progam, music licensing

YouTube use recurring revenue for creators to help it battle TikTok as well as Facebook and Instagram Reels in the important race for short video domination, Google announced this week.

Shorts creators can join the You Tube Partner Program after 10 million views on the platform over the last 90 days. YouTube’s existing Partner Program requires a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 viewing hours in the last year.

Whichever method they use to qualify as Partners, they will earn 45% of ad revenue from their Shorts.

To support newer creators, YouTube is also planning a new Partner level with lower requirements to offer earlier access to Fan Funding features like Super Thanks, Super Chat, Super Stickers and Channel Memberships, but not ad revenue

While TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook all have Creator Funds that act like grants, none share revenue on an ongoing basis.

YouTube adds Creator Music licensing

YouTube also wants to make it easier for creators to access licenced music and musicians to earn revenue with a new Creator Music destination

Creators can buy affordable music licenses that offer full monetizing potential – they keep the same revenue share they’d usually make on videos without any music. Those creators that don’t want to buy a license up front, are still able to use songs and share revenue with the track’s artist and associated rights holders.

“We’re building the bridge between artists and creators on YouTube to elevate the soundtrack of the creator economy;” said Lyor Cohen, YouTube Global Head of Music, “it’s a win-win-win for artists, songwriters, creators and fans.”

Creator Music is in beta in the U.S. and will expand to more countries next year.


Making money on YouTube vs TikTok is only part of the equation. For musicians, discovery matters, and by some measures, YouTube Shorts has already become as popular as TikTok.

75% of YouTube’s 2 billion users already watch Shorts, and musicians with long-form videos report a bump in engagement for all their YouTube content after adding Shorts.

Rather than building a short-form video audience from scratch on TikTok, it would seem a smarter move to expand your audience for short and long-form videos on YouTube.

Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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