Many musicians do not have the time to bother with these types of registrations and license monitoring. They would rather have someone else do this for them while they write, record and perform music. For these types of musicians, there are many options out there. As I mentioned last week, people who are already selling their music on Tunecore or CD Baby can also use these companies to handle their YouTube sync licensing. Each company’s website explains their pricing, options and policies for music sales (which are outside the realm of this topic), so I will let you research that on your own if you are trying to decide. If you are already with one of these companies (or another that provides sync licensing services) then it would probably be best to seek the services of the company you are with.
I happen to sell my music through CD Baby, so I will share my personal insight about their sync licensing service with you. Here is a screen-shot of their FAQ page that explains the three options you have with sync licensing as a CD Baby artists.
Why is that? Well, their FAQ page on the sync licensing states that they keep 30% of all revenue generated (and you get 70%). This is the going rate for YouTube sync licensing as seen in the statement highlighted by the red box in the figure below. For all other sync licensing (other than YouTube), they collect 40% (stated above the red box), but that is a discussion for another blog post.
Some may think my use of the word “push” here is too extreme. Let me share my latest experience and allow you to decide. I contacted CD Baby about “whitelisting” two more of my YouTube channels on March 18th. First I called, and was told that I had to email them with an official request containing links of the channels I wanted to “whitelist.” Below is the email that I sent, along with their response and my response back.
I also called to try to work things out. The agent I spoke to apologized for the email I received. However, he explained that although the “whitelist” option does exist, CD Baby only offers that option sparingly. When I asked him to explain why it isn’t worded that way on their website, he changed his story and said that it is an option and they will process my request. However, he could not give me a timeline on how long it would take to “whitelist” my channels. Since they provide this service through a company called Rumblefish, he would have to put in a request to contact Rumblefish. After the correct CD Baby department receives and processes the request, Rumblefish would have to receive and process a request from them. I still have not heard back from them on the resolution of this. In the meantime, I filed a dispute through YouTube on the copyright claim that CD Baby had against one of my videos (yes, they were blocking me from monetizing my own video while I was waiting for them to whitelist my channel). The dispute was settled in my favor and the monetization block on the video was lifted.
If you don’t want to go through all of this, there are two other options. Audiam is a company I mentioned last week that also offers sync licensing. They only retain a fee of 25% on the revenue generated by other people’s videos. They are very good about “whitelisting” your YouTube accounts, and do not try to collect anything from those videos. However, some of the other aspects of their agreement are a little more complicated. For example, you cannot opt-out at any time. The agreement you enter into with Audiam is a 1 year term that automatically renews. If you want to opt-out, you must contact them within the last 60 days of your term. Also, they have a minimum earnings requirement of $5 before you are paid, and payments are released within 45 days after the end of the calendar month.
The other option is to fill out a YouTube Content Id application yourself at this web address (https://www.youtube.com/content_id_signup). Below is a screen-shot of the application page.