Get paid when your music is used on YouTube

YouTube monetization has become an important income generator for musicians. CD Baby artists have already earned more than $5 million in YouTube ad revenue, and that figure is climbing fast. With CD Baby’s YouTube Monetization Program (which is a free add-on for all Standard and Pro releases) you can make YouTube money whenever your music is used in a video —even if it’s just playing in the background of a video someone else uploaded.

What our artists are saying about YouTube

“YouTube has unexpectedly turned into tens of thousands of dollars in revenue for me.”

— Igor Gordienko,

“I never imagined in 1,000 years it would be enough to pay rent!”

— Shannon Hurley,
Singer Songwriter

Make money on YouTube

It’s free for existing CD Baby Standard and Pro releases

Opt in for YouTube monetization

Not a CD Baby artist yet?

Create a CD Baby account now
How YouTube’s Content ID system works

How YouTube’s Content ID system works

YouTube identifies your tracks whenever they appear in a video (even in videos uploaded by other users). When your music is ID’d, YouTube will monetize those videos by running ads on them. You earn 70% of the music rights-holder’s share of any ad revenue generated. When your fans use your music in their videos on YouTube, you’ll make money.

Make your music available to video creators

Make your music available to video creators

When you sign up with CD Baby’s Sync Licensing and YouTube Monetization Program, we’ll make sure your music is added to, a website where video creators can purchase micro-sync licenses to use your music in their videos. Not only will you get paid for the initial YouTube sync license, but with our YouTube Monetization program you’ll also get paid ad revenue for those same videos via YouTube’s Content ID system. The more your music is used, the more you profit.

Make money on other video sites

Make money on other video sites

Our Sync Licensing program covers much more than just YouTube Monetization. Your music will also be available for use on dozens of other sites like Vimeo, SocialCam, Animoto, and Twitter. This gets your music in front of more viewers, gets you more plays, and offers more opportunities for video creators to use and license your content.

Join the Illustrated Sound Network

Join the Illustrated Sound Network

If you have more than 500 channel subscribers, Illustrated Sound, CD Baby's YouTube network, can help you further monetize your YouTube presence, grow your audience, drive more video engagement, optimize your content strategy, and earn a bigger cut on ad revenue.

Free Guide: The Ultimate Musician’s Guide to YouTube

Make more money from YouTube:

  • Collect YouTube royalties
  • Learn YouTube promotion tips
  • See 10 different kinds of vides to promote your music
  • And more!

Get the guide

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I make money from YouTube?

There are two ways you can earn ad revenue from YouTube.

  • 1. Monetizing your songs: With CD Baby’s YouTube Monetization Program, we’ll make sure YouTube identifies ANY video that uses your music — and we’ll make sure you get paid a share of the ad revenue.
  • 2. Monetizing your YouTube channel: When you monetize your channel, you are able to make money off the videos you upload directly to your channel (whether or not they have your music). This does NOT monetize your songs across YouTube, meaning that when you monetize your channel, you are NOT making money from videos uploaded by your fans or other YouTube users.

Why should I have CD Baby help me monetize my music on YouTube?

  • We make it easy, and there’s no charge to get started (besides your initial CD Baby signup fee).
  • No need to set up another account: you’re already distributing your music through CD Baby!
  • You keep 100% of the ownership rights to your music. We just help you collect ad revenue for the usage of your music — ANYWHERE on YouTube.
  • You earn money when other people use your music in their videos, something you cannot do on your own.
  • CD Baby can also help you license your songs for film, TV, commercials, games, and more.

How do my songs and videos generate revenue on YouTube?

All the money is generated by ads on the videos. You’ll earn money from an ad on your video if someone:

  • clicks the text or banner ad
  • watches the entire commercial, or at least 30 seconds of the commercial (if it’s longer than 30 seconds).

Do I still own all my rights?

Absolutely. You always keep 100% of your rights. We just help you get paid.

How do I know if I qualify for YouTube monetization?

Do you own the rights to the master recording and the composition (lyrics and melody)? If so, you qualify. In other words, you can’t monetize cover songs or works of public domain. But otherwise, you’re all set!

I’m already collecting ad revenue on my own YouTube channel. Will you now take a commission on that?

If you are already making money from monetizing your YouTube channel, CD Baby will still collect revenue for the videos that contain your songs that are a part of our YouTube monetization program. You can do one of the following things:

  • Keep things simple and let us take over the management of ad revenues for your YouTube channel. There are no payout thresholds to meet when you go through CD Baby.
  • Have CD Baby “whitelist” your channel. This will allow you to continue collect revenues directly from your channel while giving CD Baby the ability to collect ad revenue whenever your music appears in someone else’s video.
  • Opt-out of CD Baby’s YouTube monetization program. However, this will remove your music from YouTube’s Content ID system that enables you to make money off of other videos on YouTube that are using your music.

See more FAQs.