YouTube Inks Deal to Pay More Royalties to Indie Songwriters

17 Nov

YouTube logo

In huge news just announced, YouTube is offering all music publishers the opportunity to secure sync licensing revenue from user-generated content uploaded to the Youtube platform.   The deal, which was brokered by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and will be administered by the Harry Fox Agency (HFA),  is open to all publishers regardless of affiliation with NMPA or HFA.

This means, for the first time, independent publishers will be able to collect sync licensing fees from the largest online music service. In short: more money for songwriters.

For all songs covered under the agreement, Youtube will pay 15% of net ad revenue when the video incorporates a sound recording (i.e. a user-generated lip sync video) and 50% of net ad revenue for user-generated cover recordings. Estimates for YouTube’s ad revenue range between $1 billion and $2 billion – up significantly from 2010 revenue estimates of $450M-500M.

This new agreement doesn’t affect public performance income, which means it’s in addition to what ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are already collecting.

The deal between YouTube and HFA is awesome for Songtrust clients. As a member the NMPA and through our affiliation with HFA, Songtrust ensures that our members’ songs are eligible to receive these royalties.  We also correctly register and monitor payments, streamlining the process of collecting your royalties from Youtube.

To read full details of the deal, click here. If you’ve got any specific questions about the deal and how it affects you, hit us up in the comments below!


30 Responses to “YouTube Inks Deal to Pay More Royalties to Indie Songwriters”

  1. Samuel Abram November 19, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    How does this affect people with a Creative Commons license like me (or at least those of us with the noncommercial condition)? Does this mean I get the royalties or not?

    My Creative Commons license is BY-NC 3.0 Unported:

    • James Aviaz November 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

      Hey Samuel! We believe that content creators with a Creative Commons license will not be able to claim royalties. Creative commons allows others to remix, re-record, edit, make derivative works of your songs without permission. There’s more info at YouTube’s Creative Commons page:

      • Samuel Abram November 21, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

        Actually, I think you’re missing the point. Those videos have a CC BY license, but I wasn’t talking about that. I do have a Creative Commons license, true. But I also have a creative commons license with a non-commercial clause meaning they cannot make videos for commercial purposes. I think this means that if someone is using my music in a commercial advertisement or a commercial program, I’m entitled to royalties. Otherwise, I’m not. Is that the case?

        • James Aviaz November 22, 2011 at 2:06 am #

          Looking at the Creative Commons license you have, it looks like if someone uses your music in a commercial advertisement or a commercial program (whether it’s distributed on Youtube or another platform) they would have to secure your permission first.  You would be able to negotiate a sync license agreement with them for the use of your song and would then subsequently be entitled to royalties based on which platform it was distributed on.

  2. Samuel Abram November 23, 2011 at 12:41 am #

    I have another question. What if for future works of mine, I were to change my creative commons license to BY-NC-ND (Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives)?

    The license is here:

    This means that nobody could make derivative works of mine without my permission. If I switch licenses, would I get royalties for those works licensed with this license?

  3. Hip Hop Merchandise November 25, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    I keep telling people that youtube is the future for online music video. Music licensing will also get bigger as well. It will be interesting how this will affect music on youtube in years to come.

  4. Tutainmusic January 13, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    i have just started my independent publishing company.  i understand that there is a deadline of Jan 16, 2012 to join the youtube licencing deal.  can my publishing company and me as a songwriter be part of the youtube licencing offer in the future if i join songtrust?

    • James Aviaz January 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

      Hey there! Anyone joining Songtrust will be able to collect royalties from YouTube via HFA (Harry Fox Agency).

      • Bchristian January 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

        Even after the Jan 16 2012 deadline ?

        • James Aviaz January 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm #


          • Tutainmusic January 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

            thank you.

  5. Fiddlertom January 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    I have a video with one of my songs that has 38000+ plays. Is songtrust already collecting for this?

    • James Aviaz January 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

      Hey there! HFA has a licensing agreement with YouTube. As a Songtrust client, we make sure that your songs are registered at HFA – as well as your PRO (ASCAP/BMI/SESAC).

      • Fiddlertom February 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

        Great, just so I understand…since I have been with Songtrust before the video started getting plays it will be counted and there is nothing I need to do to be sure my song is recognized?

        • James Aviaz February 8, 2012 at 11:39 am #

          The HFA deal relates specifically to the use of your music by other people – e.g. cover, lip syncs.

  6. Joseph Green March 26, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    “15% of net ad revenue” that’s better than nothing but doesn’t keeping 85% plus costs for just hosting a video seem a bit unfair?

  7. concerned writer April 25, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

    I just joined songtrust. Prior to my joining, I have songs on youtube that have several million views collectively. Am I entitled to those royalty collections as well?

  8. Cover Me July 11, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    What about people who want to do youtube videos for cover songs, vs. release the rights to other people to cover them? Does this agreement “cover” (pun intended) people who do cover songs online?

  9. ray dantzler July 14, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    if i’m registered with bmi as a songwriter/composer and they track my music ,would that cause conflict if i sign up with you ?

  10. Million November 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Will new artists signing up for songtrust be able to collect royalties from you tube ?

    • James Aviaz November 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      Yes indeed. This deadline was to be eligible for the initial advance YouTube paid to publishers.

  11. ThatGuy December 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Hey SongTrust. So if I am not yet affiliated with HFA but I am affiliated with Song Trust, should I opt in as a HFA affiliated Publisher or or affiliate directly to youtube? Thanks in advance for you response. 

  12. Courier 6 January 12, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    Hello, is this sync license what I need to be able to post my song to youtube with a still of the cover art only? The song contains original and licensed content. Thanks! 

  13. Musicpromowells January 25, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    is this a real site/ can yall really b trusted… and will you sell my rights to record labels cuz this a big step for me.. and i neva herd of your company before

  14. Chrisellerecords January 29, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    can songtrust be trusted to really work for me ?

  15. lidloveslyrics February 27, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    I put my video on YouTube on Feb 16, 2014 and left it on my YouTube account until Feb 24, 2014 Shadows no more © 2012 lidloveslyrics which I sang my song and got 24 hits but my voice did not match my mouth (it looked like I was lip sinking) but that was really me. I did the video on my Apple at home and had my keyboard in the back ground. Technical problem maybe. I plan on redoing it. I think its time for me to join a group but which one?

  16. Troll October 22, 2014 at 4:45 am #

    Follow Corey V Perry on reverbnatio/twitter/ig/fb/soundcloud that boy is a genius

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