Can You Make a Living on YouTube?

In a world where we’re all trying to work out where and how we’ll make a living in the future, many wonder if YouTube is a solution. It can be, but you have to be in the top 100 channels.

No Film School reports some figures:

The top 1,000 channels also average $23,000 in monthly ad revenue….

But how much actual income for the artist is there?  Not as much as you’d hope.

 Well, the top YouTube video ever, Gangnam Style (I know, I know) has over one billion views and counting (somewhere around 1.6 billion as of today) and generated about $870,000 dollars for Psy and his record label. While that is more than a quarter of a million dollars, it’s maybe not as much as one might think would be earned for a billion views.

11 replies on “Can You Make a Living on YouTube?”

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  1. Why is everybody forgetting that you need money to make the content in the first place. Sure if you’re having a day job and it’s your hobby – great.

    But it is totally unrealistic to be able to create a channel with constant new high quality content for 23K a month. Just calculate real world wages for film crews..

    The only people making money are Google 🙂

    1. Well, since the article specifically detailed people who *are* making money on YouTube, your argument is invalid. That’s the problem with a lack of vision.

  2. But it doesn’t say profit? Making money and making a profit are very different. That’s the problem with wishful thinking.

    1. Many of the top 100 earners on YT are video bloggers. No film crew. No big budget production values. Just a webcam and an apartment wall backdrop.

    2. Seriously, your’e an idiot Carsten. Making Money means “profit” otherwise you’re gaining revenue without making money.

      If you want to continue commenting, stop being an idiot.

  3. So the future to make money with film making post TV or cinema is to film yourself talking?

  4. Phillip,

    One thing to consider is that they are talking about 1000 top channels in a world of millions of channels.

    There is a TED talk about Youtube success (Kevin Alloca talks about going viral, but I guess it is connected, somehow):

  5. Why be so limiting in your view? The business of moving picture entertainment is just continuing to expand. It used to be just movies. Then movies and three TV networks. Then movies, three TV networks and cable. Then moves, three TV networks, cable and home video, etc.,. Yes, now the market includes people using their webcams (and little else) to garner an audience and make money.

    This doesn’t mean that people no longer what to see action movies on the big screen or medical dramas on TV. There are more options now than ever for production, post, distribution, etc., so find the one(s) that works best for you/your project and go with it.

  6. Well, that does not sound encouraging.
    It’s close to my math: a bit less than a buck for a 1000 views.
    It’s good that we have this platform, but hopefully, this will evolve to a better revenue system.

  7. I wonder how much the producer gets for 1000 views on a network show? The network gets between 25c and 65c per viewer per show, but how much actually flows to the producers?

    If you’re one of the tiny, tiny percentage who ever gets through the gate to that opportunity. At least YouTube is more open.

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