The AJ Community Guide #6: Youtube vs PRO royalties

This guide is based on an AudioJungle community forum discussions about complex issues like PRO royalties and CID. Feel free to improve this guide by making comments and sharing your experience.

I’ve written the following chapters already:

This one will be sad. Each of us sell hundreds, thousands of licenses and most of them are used in Youtube videos generating millions (billions?) views. So we expect a PRO royalties from internet streaming. And… many of us receive tiny royalties. Too tiny. Whole thing is very vague so this time I had to make a sole investigation in this matter to solve the mystery of low internet royalties. Some things were mentioned on forum, some I have tested on my own. And of course I had to contact with my PRO (Polish ZAIKS) and CIDs few times. This is what I’ve got:

Every country has a contract with Youtube. Each contract may differ, each PRO digital/manual filtering system may differ, each PRO rules and procedures may differ. But there are many common things they share. I will only describe how my PRO deals with the internet but you should find similarity in yours organizations.

So my PRO can find and transfer you royalties if:

  • video has monetization turned ON
  • ad has been watched
  • your track was registered in CID (I mean really registered, we know how many kind of fake, inactive registrations AdRev has don for so many of us)
  • your track has to be eligible for CID (e.g. remixes, solo drum tracks, ambients may be ineligible)
  • Youtube CID has matched your track in the video
  • both your track and video have to have more than 30 seconds
  • there is at least 30 seconds of your music in the video (in case it’s edited and exists in few parts of the longer video)
  • it has to be registered in my PRO no later than 30 days after the video upload
  • it is registered under the same data in PRO and CID (or at least partly)
  • royalties have to be bigger than 1zł (it’s about 0,30$)
  • The most important part: my PRO can collect ONLY royalties from views in my country. Views from other countries must be accounted by foreign each PRO and hopefully transferred to my PRO which never happen so far

In other words whole process in my PRO looks like this: I should instantly register every new track in PRO and CID. Uploaded Youtube video with my music should get the CID claim (solved or not) and monetization should be turned on. Afterwards my PRO will get the messy periodic text (!) report from Youtube with all the views only from my country (!!) which has to be filtered by them and manually (!!!) confirmed. And of course video has to be enough popular in my country to pass the 1zł earnings limit.

I suppose it works very similar in your PROs. Who can get royalties from this ridiculous procedure? Mostly music videos, movies and all the big players. We create millions of videos each year but it looks like they are too tiny and spread all over the world to be accounted or even tracked by CID. Even more, all of the music used in commercials usually do not generate royalties, because… usually ads do not have monetization turned on and have less than 30 sec.

You can only imagine how big those royalties could be if they were summed up. And all tracked by CID. In other words current system is extremely inefficient for most of the media composers. Or should I say outrageously?

This is very complicated for me as well so let me know if I made somewhere a mistake which is very possible!