How Much Does YouTube Music Pay Per Stream?

The modern music industry has a critical question: how much does YouTube Music pay per stream? As you navigate the ever-evolving landscape of digital streaming platforms, understanding the intricacies of payment structures becomes paramount.

YouTube Music is amongst the most lucrative music streaming platforms for artists. It pays, on average, $0.00069 per stream, which is more than other payment categories within YouTube’s ecosystem, like content ID. Still, various factors influence your earnings, like your listeners’ geographic location. As a result, it’s best to employ strategies to maximize your profits, such as cross-promoting your tracks.

This post delves into the complexities of YouTube Music’s pay per stream. I’ll also walk you through the factors influencing per-stream payouts and uncover strategies to maximize your earnings.

Please Note: Our numbers are based on sales in the US market. Other global markets could influence the average royalty payment rate received.

YouTube Music's Payment Structure

YouTube Music makes money through ads, subscriptions, licensing, and merchandise sales. However, understanding how artists get paid on the platform requires understanding YouTube’s overall royalty system.

There are three main categories for payment on YouTube:

  1. YouTube Music: A premium service separate from the free YouTube.
  2. Your official channel as a musician: Your official channel is where you upload music videos.
  3. Content ID: An automated system for copyright owners to identify videos using their content.

YouTube's payment rates vary based on these categories and factors like ad-supported streams, premium subscribers, and geographical location. Therefore, earnings vary from one musician to another.

Furthermore, royalties are paid monthly. Therefore, updating payment information on both your YouTube and AdSense accounts is crucial to ensure you receive your earnings.

How Much Does YouTube Music Pay Per Stream?

YouTube Music pays a rate of $0.00069 per stream on average. However, compared to the other music streaming services that pay artists the most, YouTube Music has a leg up. This is because of its user base of 100 million subscribers. That figure is significant because the number of paid subscribers a platform has can influence your payout.

Still, various other factors affect your YouTube Music pay per stream. This includes whether the upload was independent, through a distributor, or under a record label.

Therefore, YouTube Music’s payment structure is not one-size-fits-all. And you need to consider these factors to understand how much you can earn from your tracks on the platform.

Mobile phone with YouTube logo for YouTube music pay per stream article

Factors Influencing Artist Payouts

Your Listeners’ Subscription Tier

One of the critical factors affecting your YouTube Music pay per stream is your listeners’ subscription plan. YouTube Music offers both a free tier, supported by ads, and a paid subscription service called YouTube Music Premium.

The free version has limitations, including no background play. In contrast, the premium service provides an ad-free experience along with features like offline playback and the ability to download music.

Free-tier users contribute less to artist revenues because they support the platform through ad views rather than direct payments. On the other hand, YouTube Music Premium subscribers, who pay a monthly fee and don't see ads, contribute more significantly to artist earnings.

Your Agreement With Your Distributor or Label

Your YouTube Music pay per stream is closely tied to your agreements with distributors or labels. These agreements dictate how much of the revenue generated from YouTube Music goes to you.

The percentage of revenue, as well as how it's divided between the artist and their distributor or label, is determined by these agreements. Essentially, the more favorable the terms, the higher the payout.

Moreover, these agreements can affect your ability to make money from your content on YouTube Music. If a distributor or label holds exclusive rights to your songs, you may need permission to monetize your content on the platform.

This highlights the importance of understanding and negotiating agreements with distributors or labels to ensure you can maximize your earnings on YouTube Music. In essence, it's not just about the platform's payout rates but also the terms you have with those handling your music distribution.

Your Listeners’ Geographic Location

The cost of YouTube Music subscriptions differs from country to country. And this significantly impacts the streaming value and how much YouTube Music pays per stream.

In countries with smaller economies, subscriptions are cheaper. For example, in the UK, the subscription for YouTube Music is $14.45, whereas in Argentina, it's $1.97.

The disparity in subscription prices directly affects the royalties artists receive. This means that the location of your fanbase is a crucial factor in determining your earnings, regardless of the total number of streams.

Tips for Maximizing Earnings on YouTube Music

Collaborating with other artists on the platform can significantly boost your YouTube Music pay per stream. This is achieved through expanding your audience and increasing your reach.

Create Original Content on YouTube

Creating original content on YouTube can significantly boost your YouTube Music pay per stream. To achieve this, focus on increasing viewership by producing high-quality and unique content, such as:

  • Cover versions
  • Live performances
  • Vlogs
  • Personal stories
  • Educational content

These types of content can drive traffic, engage your audience, and broaden your reach. And they can enhance your channel’s authority, establishing trust and giving you a competitive edge.

Besides creating high-quality content, you can boost audience retention by keeping viewers engaged. Consider creating compelling thumbnails and encouraging interaction through comments. By encouraging listeners to return, you will increase your chances of earning revenue from YouTube Music.

In addition, improving search rankings is crucial. Therefore, optimize video SEO with relevant keywords. That way, your original content will enhance visibility on both YouTube and YouTube Music.

Furthermore, don't overlook the potential of adding an end screen to your videos. This provides an excellent opportunity to conclude your content effectively and promote other related content and merchandise. It is a valuable extension of your promotion strategy, encouraging viewers to explore more of your offerings.

Cross Promote Your Music

Promoting your YouTube Music page beyond the platform is a powerful strategy to expand your audience and cultivate a dedicated fan base. Therefore, promote your tracks by utilizing your existing presence on popular social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.

You can create a reel on Instagram and Facebook with an end screen mentioning where listeners can stream your whole track. Include YouTube Music’s branding in the available options. Alternatively, mention in your email newsletter that your music is available for streaming on YouTube Music.

Furthermore, explore opportunities to be interviewed on relevant podcasts or host your own podcast episodes. This approach introduces your music to new audiences who share an interest in similar genres or themes, potentially expanding your fan base. It also gives you a chance to mention that your tracks are available on YouTube Music.

Another option is to share snippets of your live performances on platforms like YouTube, Instagram Reels, or TikTok. Offering glimpses of your live shows can generate interest in your music. And it may motivate viewers to explore your complete songs on YouTube Music.

Collaborate with Other Musicians

Collaborating with other artists on the platform can significantly boost your YouTube Music pay per stream. This is achieved through expanding your audience and increasing your reach. There are two main types of collaborations to consider:

  • Musical collaborations: Partner with other musicians to expose your music to their existing fan base. This introduces your work to a new and engaged audience and brings fresh perspectives and creativity to your music. It's a win-win situation for both artists.
  • Content collaborations: Beyond just music, collaborations can involve various content types, such as behind-the-scenes videos, interviews, or giveaways related to your music. These collaborations offer an opportunity to showcase different aspects of yourself and your collaborators, building a stronger connection with your fans.

Whether musical or content-focused, collaborations can help you tap into a larger audience, leading to increased visibility and engagement on YouTube Music. To make the most of collaborations, it's crucial to maintain transparency and clarity in your proposals.

Ensure that both parties understand the mutual benefits of the collaboration. Doing so enhances your creative output and establishes a positive and beneficial relationship with your collaborators. As a result, you set the stage for continued success on YouTube Music.

Man listing to music on YouTube for YouTube music pay per stream article

Build a Loyal Fan Base on YouTube

Building a loyal fan base on YouTube is a sure-fire way to increase your YouTube Music pay per stream. A loyal fanbase means you have people who’ll stream every new release you add to YouTube Music. This will translate into increased popularity and interest from potential fans.

So, how do you go about achieving this? Here are some strategies:

  • Prioritize viewer interaction: Respond to comments, ask for feedback, and engage with users. This builds a community around your channel, leading to higher engagement and loyalty. Also, create opportunities for viewers to interact with you and each other.
  • Understand your audience via YouTube Analytics: Analyze your viewers’ behavior, preferences, and demographics. This data helps you optimize your content to align with your audience's interests, boosting engagement and loyalty.
  • Implement a loyalty program: Reward your most dedicated fans with exclusive content or merchandise. This can encourage engagement and loyalty, ultimately leading to higher earnings on YouTube Music.
  • Show authenticity and personality in your videos: Being yourself and sharing a unique perspective helps establish a personal connection with viewers, encouraging them to return and engage with your content.
  • Leverage YouTube's Community tab: Share updates, ask questions, and run polls. This tool is powerful for building a loyal fan base by engaging with your audience and fostering a sense of community around your channel.

Boost Visibility with YouTube Ads

To boost your presence on YouTube and achieve success, consider leveraging YouTube music ads alongside organic promotion tactics. Crafting an effective ad involves focusing on the format, description, and headline. If you're uncertain about the optimal structure, conducting A/B testing can guide you to the most cost-effective and beneficial option.

When running ads, setting a daily budget and establishing an end date is crucial to prevent overspending. This ensures your advertising efforts align with your finances. Additionally, prioritizing the promotion of high-quality videos enhances the overall impact of your campaign.

Maintain a Consistent Release Strategy

On YouTube Music, maintaining a consistent upload schedule is vital to maximizing earnings, even though the relationship between consistency and success is nuanced. While content quality is undeniably crucial, posting regularly benefits musicians.

A consistent posting schedule signals to YouTube Music's algorithm that you are active and engaging, potentially resulting in better visibility and recommendations. Additionally, regular uploads help keep listeners engaged, encouraging them to return for new songs and fostering a loyal fan base.

Consistency goes beyond algorithmic favor and audience engagement; it also plays a significant role in brand building. Regular posting reinforces your brand identity and establishes a predictable schedule for followers, contributing to a more dedicated fan base.

Moreover, consistently creating and uploading content improves your audio production skills. It allows you to practice regularly, refine your craft, enhance song quality, and develop your expertise.

While quality remains a top priority, consistency provides a framework for growth and audience retention. Balancing both quality and consistency is essential to maximize your earnings and build a sustainable presence.


The amount YouTube Music pays per stream is essential for navigating the digital landscape. While the platform's payout rate is lower than other music streaming services, there are multiple strategies you can use to maximize your earnings.

You can increase your per-stream payouts by fostering audience engagement through regular uploads and building a solid brand identity. Additionally, collaborations with established artists can pay off significantly.

As the music industry evolves, staying informed about these payment dynamics, adapting strategies, and embracing emerging trends will be crucial. It’s also wise to think about other ways to diversify your income. One such route could be opting to have your music used in TV shows. Sugo Music Group is your go-to in that case. They have over 35 years of experience in music publishing, helping several musicians thrive and soar in their careers.

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