Leaked Royalty Reports Allegedly Show Non-Music Key YouTubers Get Screwed

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According to Digital Music News, YouTube might be giving the musicians not on its subscription service “the shaft.” An alleged “leaked royalty statement” shows that musicians who are on “YouTube Music’s mainline non-subscription service” are making roughly $0.00039 per play of their song. As illustrated by the leaked royalty statement, that means 13,000 views are worth roughly $5.

(photo credit: Digital Music News)

(photo credit: Digital Music News)

In contrast to that, Digital Music News also reported last week that artists available on the YouTube Music Key streaming subscription site were making a much more artist-friendly 5.4 cents a stream. By those numbers, the same 13,000 views are worth a much more healthy $702 (13,000 x .054).

(photo credit: Digital Music News)

(photo credit: Digital Music News)

While that doesn’t seem fair (or accurate), there might be a couple explanations:

1.One (or both) of those leaked releases is fake.

Any time you deal in “found” information, you have to take it with a grain of figurative salt. There are a lot of companies and entities that have it out for YouTube and its new streaming music platform. It wouldn’t be a hard stretch of the imagination to suggest one of those companies might create hostility from within by alleging that musicians on the outside make far less than musicians who play ball with YouTube.

2. YouTube is trying to make a point.

In the weeks surrounding Zoë Keating’s assertions that YouTube is a bully company trying to force YouTube musicians to sign up for their streaming service, what could be better PR than a “leaked statement” showing how well the company takes care of those who accept its terms.

Absolutely they are similar in scope, but the difference is huge. Of course, we reached out to YouTube to see if they wanted to shed a little light on this brouhaha in the making. We’ll let you know when we hear back. In the meantime, it looks like Keating and friends really might want to consider playing ball … a lot of zeroes seem to ride on it.


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