As a way to honor official music videos that have gone viral, the club now has over 300 of them, including many of the most famous hits of the past 10 years, like Adele’s “Hello” and Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee.
How much do artists get paid when a music video on YouTube gets a billion views?
The royalties depend on a number of things. A lot of things affect these rates, like where they are and what kind of view they have. For example, artists signed to major labels, who make up the vast majority of Billion Views Club members, get paid more on the platform than those who aren’t signed to a label or are signed to an independent label.
But the location may be the most important factor of all: Most of the time, rates in the United States are higher than in other countries. So, a major-label artist’s official YouTube music video could make an average of $0.0038 per stream in the U.S., but Billboard thinks that rate is only $0.0026 per stream globally, which is how YouTube counts its views.
Both in the US and around the world, the number of YouTube Premium video streams (views from subscribers to YouTube’s ad-free tier) is higher than the number of plays from users on the ad-supported tier.
So, if 1 billion people watched an official music video, it would bring in about $2.6 million for a major label artist. That is, of course, before the label takes their cut of the royalties, which varies greatly depending on the artist’s contract, and before the artist figures out what, if anything, they owe to the other artists or producers on the track.
For non-official videos that use music, like a user-generated video of someone’s trip to the zoo set to a song by a major-label artist, that global blended stream estimate would drop to $0.0021, due to the lower payouts on UGC videos and the over-indexing of UGC viewership compared to that of official videos.
So, if a song from a major label gets used in 1 billion videos on YouTube, the label and artist would make closer to $2.1 million.
“Hello” by Adele was the first of more than 300 music videos on YouTube to get 1 billion views. It only took 88 days for “Hello” to get that many views after it came out.
Next are “Despacito” and “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran, which both took 97 days. The third and fourth spots on the list are also held by Spanish-language songs. “Mi Gente” by J Balvin and Willy William took 103 days to reach the top, while “Échame La Culpa” by Luis Fonsi and Demi Lovato took 111 days.