The Musician’s Institute Guide to Monetizing Your Music

You’re likely a musician and want to make money from your music. How can you increase your revenue the fastest? You can swap getting signed by a record label for uploading your tracks on YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook. Having a stable distribution and marketing strategy across various platforms is important. Here are some ways to get started.

Why do you need to monetize your music online?

Today was the best time to monetize content. Spotify reported that 13,000 artists made at least $50,000 from monetizing their music in 2020 (although complaints of being underpaid are ongoing). In the last three years, YouTube has paid $30 billion to its creators. TikTok is a new revenue stream for musicians that has gained momentum in the last year.

You can also monetize your music through other platforms, such as YouTube or TikTok. Many artists use a combination of these methods to monetize their music.

  • Live performances
  • Sell merchandise at concerts or third-party distributors (think Shopify, Amazon).
  • Sync licensing allows your track to be used in commercials or TV shows.
  • Brand partnerships
  • Streaming

Another benefit to monetizing content online is? Each time someone plays your track, they impact the platform’s algorithm. This allows other users to add you to their playlists. You will get more exposure by offering digital downloading through platforms such as SoundCloud.

How to make your music monetizable on the most popular online platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Soundcloud


You might be new to YouTube for creators and musicians. You can meet the following basic requirements with the right marketing strategy:

  1. 1000+ subscribers
  2. Over 4,000 hours of watch time in the last 12 months
  3. Here’s a link to your Google AdSense account
  4. No YouTube policy violations

Participants in the YouTube Partner Program must also live in a country with the Program. Participating in the YouTube Partner Program means that you place ads on your content. This helps you to earn royalties. It’s as simple as that.

An alternative method is to create an Official Artist Channel. This works well for YouTube creators who are experienced. You must follow these steps to create an OAC.

  • You currently own and manage a YouTube channel dedicated to your band or music
  • Get 3+ official YouTube releases delivered and distributed to you by a music distributor.
  • No policy violations on your channel

An OAC requires the use of one of these items:

  • Join the YouTube Partner Program
  • A label network that can work with a partner manager can be a great option.
  • You can work with a YouTube Partner Manager yourself.
  • Your music can be distributed by a distributor in the YouTube Services Directory.

You can also become an Official Artist Channel and offer your most loyal fans a channel membership. This allows them to pay the fees you choose to access exclusive tracks or clips.

Users who choose YouTube Premium can enjoy an ad-free experience and see your content increase in revenue. Our quick guide to YouTube for musicians will help you maximize your YouTube presence.


On the other hand, Vimeo is an ad-free platform that gives creators and artists different options for monetizing their content.

VimeoOTT allows musicians to be creative and sell music lessons. They can also offer a subscription-based service that lets fans watch private shows in their homes. Google Analytics lets you track who is watching your music videos and when.

The greatest problem? The biggest problem with Vimeo Live Streaming is the price. 

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