PJ Wassermann is a composer, producer and performer of chillout, psyTrance and electronica music.
A couple of years ago I accidentally discovered on YouTube that somebody had uploaded the trance remix of MUH! by Matterhorn Project that I had made in the 90ies. It had 3.5 millions views! Before I could try to monetize my music the uploader’s channel was removed by YouTube.
By the end of 2013 YouTube made their agreement with Swiss copyright society SUISA and thus finally became open to Swiss authors. By the end of January 2014 I was a YouTube partner and started uploading all my content and my so far 28 videos. But above all I was able to monetize the many third party uploads of my music. Or so I thought because it soon became clear that all my views added to next to nothing in my income reports.
151,781 views with 681,104 minutes playtime in eleven months generated an income of 10.02 US Dollars! One million views would generate about $65, one single view boils down to $0.000065.
How is a musician supposed to make a living with this kind of payout?
Additionally YouTube’s payout logic is difficult to understand. Why do 20,926 views of “9. Best of Chillout…” pay $2.96 but 17,594 views of “funny cows singing mix” pay only $0.28? I don’t know. The same song under the name of “La chanson de la vache Techno remix” pays $2.20 for 24,908 views. 7,498 views “MUH! by Matterhorn Project (original 80ies video)”, same song again, pay nothing at all. This is weird. “High Energetic Core” with 3,651 views delivers even only $0.01. Ridiculous. At least it’s OK that “PJ Wassermann – I Am One” doesn’t pay because I wanted to keep it free from advertising.
A lot of musicians have recently complained about low payments from Pandora and Spotify. To me it looks that YouTube is even worse. They allow anybody to upload music that they don’t have any rights to and the payout for the rights holders is extremely meager. “Don’t be evil” is the formal corporate motto of Google, YouTube’s mother company. So Google, please don’t be evil to musicians!
This is the music that once had 3.5 millions views: