Not long ago, a Top 10 hit on iTunes wouldn’t have been possible without the backing of a major record company, but social media has changed the rules.
Lanzarote-based Irish singer-songwriter Rory Gallagher is one of many musicians to embrace this change. He made it to number one in the charts after one of his songs was leaked online.
Jimmy’s Winning Matches became an overnight viral sensation on YouTube, clocking up 20,000 views in its first week.
Capitalising on YouTube’s monetising option, Rory opted into adverts to earn money along the way.
However, Rory told Angela Barnes and Philippa Hall, Sky News that he didn’t turn as many clicks into coins as he would have liked.
The singer said he lost out on revenue after he uploaded his song to iTunes via a small online company without realising they also claimed half of the YouTube earnings.
He also explained how he could have earned more if he’d become a YouTube partner.
Howard Davies-Carr isn’t a household name but you will probably know his two sons from the famous Charlie Bit My Finger – Again! video.
It’s the sixth most-watched clip on the site and Howard has explained to Sky News how becoming a YouTube partner and sharing in the advertising revenues with the site made him £250,000.
His video led to a smartphone app and T-shirts. It even saw him star in various ads in other countries – which made another £250,000.
Before 2012 you had to apply to become a YouTube partner, but now all you need to do is link your YouTube account with an AdSense profile and monetise one of your videos.
The more popular your video and channel, the better the ad revenues.
A YouTube spokesperson told Sky News: “The amount people earn varies depending on the type of advertising format (banner ads, skippable ads, etc) as well as the number of views and the particular advertising.
The video has had more than 526 million views
“We don’t break out specific numbers, but we have over a million channel partners earning money – and thousands are making six figures.”
It may sound simple, but you need original content and dedication.
Howard said he used to spend a few hours a day responding to comments and interview requests to further build a profile.
Charlie Bit My Finger – Again! is used a lot without Howard’s consent, but he doesn’t police the media.
Companies exist for authors, songwriters and performers to collect their revenue, but if you haven’t got someone working for you, there are other ways to monitor online content, media lawyer Eitan Jankelewitz told Sky News.
He said: “There are software packages available to search the internet for video or audio material and it will report that back to you, and then you can approach the publishers of your material to take it down or perhaps agree a licence fee with them.”
YouTube also provides a service which enables new videos to be compared with a database of existing ones, in order to see if the new clips are copies of those already in the database.
“If a new video is matched to an existing video and considered to be a copy, the owner of the existing video can block the upload of the new video,” Eitan explained.
“This gives the owners of copyrighted videos the option to work proactively in defending their rights.”
The lesson? Provided you’ve come up with a good idea, a champagne lifestyle may just be a few clicks away.