How YouTube monetization works

Disclaimer: This article is illustrative and aims to elucidate and understand the three main monetization methods provided by YouTube.

Specifichiamo fin da subito che per monetizzare i contenuti video caricati sul proprio canale YouTube bisogna possederne la proprietà intellettuale (asset) al 100%.

There are currently three ways to monetize YouTube:

  1. With Partner Program di YouTube (PPY)
  2. With Fingerprint
  3. With Content ID

1. Partner Program di YouTube

The YouTube Partner Program allows – by satisfying certain requirements – to autonomously and independently monetize the contents uploaded to your YouTube channel (we suggest reading this short article, always and constantly updated by Google). The requirements necessary to access the YouTube Partner Program are as of today (February 2023) the following:

1,000 subscribers with 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months or 1,000 subscribers with 10 million valid short public views in the last 90 days

2. Fingerprint

Fingerprinting is the most popular monetization (or block) system for those who work with music. The fingerprint is activated on an audio content since the latter is distributed through a digital distributor. Let’s assume that the single X of artist Y is distributed through Music Rails, by default Music Rails also distributes the products on YouTube and automatically activates the monetization policy for product X (it is possible to activate the blocking policy on request).

This implies that all users who upload a video or part of a video to YouTube (in technical jargon, UGC upload, or User Generated Content) containing the entire product X or a part of the product X will see ads before and/or during the uploaded video because the content used is owned by the owner of the master and these ads will serve precisely for monetization in favor of the master’s owner. Specifically, the message will be as follows:

If you are an artist or a label distributing with us, you should see this © (fingerprint) claim active on all content uploaded to your YouTube channel. We remind you that:

  1. If the © claim is not active, it means that the fingerprint is not active. It can be due to an error in the delivery phase or a delivery too short of the release date. You can report it to our assistance number by indicating the video link and we will activate it promptly.
  2. If the © claim is active it means that the fingerprint is active and that you absolutely must not dispute it because at the time of the dispute YouTube, for safety, freezes everything that should be monetized in your favor until the dispute is resolved.

It is also important to know that the fingerprint does not work for channels linked to a Multi Channel Network (MCN). L’aggancio di un canale ad un MCN fornisce possibilità più ampie di monetizzazione ed è uno strumento potentissimo che lavora grazie al Content ID.

3. Content ID

The Content ID is in fact the most complete © claim and can only be enabled if the YouTube channel is linked to an MCN. To link your YouTube channel to The Orchard / Music Rails MCN you must, in addition to meeting the PPY requirements, also:

  1. have not uploaded cover videos to your channel;
  2. not having uploaded videos with “generic images” to your channel;
  3. not have uploaded video interviews and/or television clips to your channel;
  4. have not uploaded non-exclusively owned videos to your channel.

By linking the YouTube channel to the MCN, it is also possible to monetize the video part. YouTube’s Content ID system recognizes cropped, mirrored, flipped, modified color corrected content with a pitch up and/or pitch down of ±8. In this way, the detection of any UGC video containing even just a few instants of the music video clip will be automatically monetized in favor of the master holder.

If you want to know more about Digital Distribution, do not hesitate to contact us and/or visit our dedicated page.