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Every dollar counts!

Published:Sunday | October 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Tessanne Chin - File

Sadeke Brooks, Gleaner Writer

As album sales continue to fall, Jamaican artistes and producers are now looking to YouTube for additional earnings.

Producer Blaqk Sheep explained that while you might not get massive earnings from YouTube, "you do get paid".

He says in order for entertainers to earn money, they need to first ensure that their songs are registered, and then it is left up to the publisher to track and hunt monies owed to the artiste.

While there are opportunities to earn, Blaqk Sheep says there are still limitations.

"You do earn, but it takes a while. If you go YouTube versus record sales, YouTube nah go ever reach that level," he told The Sunday Gleaner.

Meanwhile, record sales have a somewhat dismal side, with Tessanne Chin's Count On My Love only selling approximately 7,000 units in the first week.

In an article titled, 'SoundScan's Third-Quarter Numbers in One Word: Bleak', published on Billboard's website last week, " far this year, 60 digital songs have sold over 1 million units as compared to 83 last year. And after nine months, not one artist-album has yet hit the million-unit mark." While that might be the case, "...Pharrell Williams' Happy, is the best-selling track this year with 6.2 million scans, followed by John Legend's All of Me, with 4.4 million scans and Katy Perry's Dark Horse featuring Juicy J, with 4.3 million scans".

Despite these declines, Blaqk Sheep maintains that it is also these same foreign acts who are likely to earn the most from YouTube.

"Overseas persons benefit because they get more views. The artistes in Jamaica have impressive views, but when you compare it to persons in America, that is a different story," he said.

While the YouTube views for Jamaican acts might be small in comparison to their US counterparts, president of distribution company Zojak World Wide, Aaron Mahlfeldt, said: "It (YouTube) is turning into a big revenue stream... probably number two to iTunes."

He declined to say how much money one could earn per view on YouTube, but he noted that one could earn " of a penny (one US cent) per stream on Spotify (digital music service), and YouTube pays better than that."

This means that for one million views on Spotify, one would earn US$1,000.

But before any revenue can come in, Mahlfeldt stressed the need for artistes to have a YouTube channel, and that channel must be managed by someone outside of Jamaica.

"YouTube has a recognition system, so the moment someone puts up the same audio, it is recognised and then the ad is placed over it," he said, noting that money is usually earned from ads placed at the beginning of the videos.

Mahlfeldt added that the ability to earn while promoting one's song is certainly a positive thing.


"It's kinda cool that Jamaican artistes and producers can make money just by promoting their music, before it actually comes out on iTunes," he said.

In a previous Gleaner article, Tommy Lee Sparta's publicist, Keona Williams, complained that revenue was being lost because her artiste's song were being uploaded by other parties, some of whom breached YouTube's terms and policies. As a result, she said they were forced to create a Vevo channel for the artiste.

"We have to protect our music. It's not a significant amount of money, but we do earn from YouTube and can't afford to lose our publishing to other uploaders," Williams said in the November 2013 article.

Similarly, RDX's Renegade agreed that money could be made from YouTube.

"YouTube is not a major earner, but every dollar counts. Major earnings for dancehall artistes are shows and international endorsements," he told The Sunday Gleaner, noting that Vevo centralises one's material and prevents others from copying it.

"Right now you have Vevo, which is better. You spend money on your video, so any money you can get back is good."