This Is How You Can Make Money with Lyric Videos on YouTube


I love lyric videos, don’t you? If done right, they are a wonderful addition to our favorite songs, but can you make money with lyric videos on YouTube and other video platforms? Let’s find out:

You can’t legally make any money off of lyric videos unless you have licensing and distribution rights for these songs, that requires the record label’s approval. Or you could create covers so that you legally insert lyrics. The best income opportunity solution is creating lyric videos for artist and charge them for it.

And of course, there is much more to it. 

In the remaining of this article, I’m going to share with you how to make money from a lyric video channel. I will also share why I believe that for most of you, starting such a channel is not a good idea.

Then I will show you in a better way to make money through lyric videos, and I’m talking here for a potential weekly income of hundreds of dollars!! Stay tuned. 🙂

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice, and I am not your lawyer.

You Can Make Money from Uploading Other Artist’s Lyric Videos Only in the Following 3 Scenarios

In all three cases to be able to get money from youtube, you must be able to monetize videos on your channel, meaning you have at least 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time.

  1. You own the licensing and distribution rights of the song. If it isn’t an original composition, you can get access to these rights by contacting the copyright owners. Usually, these are the songwriters and/or the music label.
  2. If you don’t, I have licensing and distribution rights for the song, then your best bet is crossing your fingers and hope that the copyright owner doesn’t notice your video and claim it or takes it down.
  3. YouTube doesn’t notice and does not remove your monetization.

How About All the YouTube Channels That Have Lyric Videos with Ads on Them?

Good question. You may have noticed that some channels consistently upload lyric videos that have ads on them. Here are 4 possible scenarios on why they are able to run ads: 

(A) The uploader owns the licensing and distribution rights to these songs. Or

(B) All copyrights have expired, meaning the song belongs to the public domain. Or

(C) The music label themselves is monetizing these songs, thus making a profit (this is what likely is happening in most cases). Or

(D) Youtube hasn’t taken notice just yet. And why they haven’t taken notice? For the same reason, not everyone who speeds on the highway gets a speeding ticket. Plain luck.

In most circumstances, the music label won’t give access to the song rights, but if they see that the channel has a lot of traffic that may allow it to “stay live” and then claim/monetize the songs.

But does YouTube know if a song is uploaded without the owners permission? Answer: Through their content ID system.

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Understand YouTube’s Content ID

When someone uploads a video on YouTube, the video and audio content get screened through YouTube’s Content ID system. If you don’t know what content ID is here’s a direct quote from Wikipedia:

“Content ID is a digital fingerprinting system developed by Google, which is used to easily identify and manage copyrighted content on YouTube. Videos uploaded to YouTube are compared against audio and video files registered with Content ID by content owners, looking for any matches…

And a direct quote from YouTube about content ID:

Content ID is an automated copyright management system. For copyright owners who have access, Content ID automatically finds videos that use their material and lets them claim it, instead of submitting a copyright takedown notice.

Because Content ID helps detect other uploads of that song, it helps the copyright owner by placing a claim on that upload. When that happens, the ads can be inserted monetizing the song, thus earning the copyright holders extra income. 

The way YouTube detect’s other uploads of that song by using a digital fingerprint. 

The Digital Fingerprint YouTube Uses

YouTube will attach a digital fingerprint that enables them to identify and recognize your songs on their platform.

As we just saw, each time someone uploads a copy of a song that has a digital fingerprint on it, the distributor will place a claim that takes down or monetizes that upload. Then YouTube pays the distributor, and the artist gets paid through them.

There Is a Way to Bypass the Content Id System, but Please AVOID Using It

I know a way you can bypass the automated copyright system but I don’t recommend it! I’m mentioning this method for educational purposes only.

Please do NOT try it because first of all, it’s against YouTube’s regulations, and second, if you use it, your account will be terminated since its just a matter of time for YouTube to catch up on this trick.

So, once again, please refer from using this technique! That said here it goes:

As we already mentioned, it’s not possible to create lyric videos and profit from the ad revenue because you don’t own the licensing and distribution rights of the songs. However, there is a (temporary) way around that. 

You could adjust the waveform 2-3 semitones; this bypasses the automated copyright system YouTube has. You can easily make this adjustment using any DAW such as Ableton Live, Audacity or an online free transposition service.

Again I want to mention that during this or similar tricks is obviously still copyright infringement and is against YouTube terms of service.

There are still a couple of drawbacks to consider. 

  • If you ignore the fact that manipulating YouTube in such a way is against the regulations, and if you also ignore the fact that your account will 100% be terminated matter if this takes a week a month or a year, then you should not ignore the fact that the rewards are very small.
  • For example, if you managed to get about 1 million views, you will make no more than $350 from ads. Also, it is a fact that most viewers hate it when the song is off-pitch. Therefore most of them are not going to subscribe to your channel.

To be honest, I don’t believe it’s worth the hassle, but that is up to you.

You Cant Legally Insert Lyrics on Official Songs, but You Can Create a Cover and Profit from Them

This solution is not for everyone, but if you have a good singing voice 

(or if you know someone who does), then you could create your version of a cover, upload it and legally place lyrics on it.

This method works really well because by choosing lyrics as visual content, you’re not required to record any video footage. However, there are a number of steps you need to follow if you want to create cover songs and have YouTube bee cool about it. 

This Is the No1 Method I Recommend for Making Money from Lyric Videos

Okay, as I promised, the best way to create an income from lyric videos is by creating lyric videos for artists! It is a simple but effective method; here goes:

If you want to make money from lyric videos, you should seek for artists that are willing to invest in their music careers. Then create these types of videos for them and, of course, charge them for your services.

Yes, it’s that simple! Note: I’m not talking here about the low-quality lyric video. Instead, I’m talking about the eye catching-high quality jaw-dropping lyric video pro artist use!

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I already hear you wondering: 

-But wait, Mark, is creating lyric videos for artists even a thing? 

-Yes, it most definitely is!

Why Would an Artist Pay for a Lyric Video?

Music artists pay for lyric videos for a number of reasons such as: 

  1. They might not know how to create one by themselves, 
  2. they might not have the extra time to invest 
  3. they might not have recorded any video footage for their upcoming song. 

Using a lyric video is a budget-friendly high-value option for the artist. There are a lot of reasons why someone would want to purchase a lyric video. We just saw the three main ones.

How to Create Lyric Videos with Zero Experience

Creating lyric videos is not hard even if you have zero experience, you can create a decent lyric video; the only requirements are that you have a computer, a video editing software and time. I’m now going to outline a strategy that works on how you can find clients and sell your music lyric videos.

1) First, create a couple of lyric videos as a test just to get the hang of the software.

2) Then approach one of your artist friends and offer to create a lyric video for them. For this job, you can ask for a small fee, such as $15-$20, or do it for free. 

No matter if you get paid or not for your time, ask them to credit you in the video description and if their satisfied to write a testimonial where they say how happy they are with your work.

If you don’t have any artist friends, look online at local Facebook groups or Instagram. Contact a few of them and offer them the same deal

3) Create a one-page website. This is where you talk about yourself and demonstrate your work. You can create a one-page website using WordPress.org for about $100. But if you’re not familiar with the platform or don’t want to invest money that early in your journey, I have a wonderful free solution for you that’s called Carrd.

Carrd is a company that gives you the opportunity to create up to three websites for free! Their sites look elegant and very professional; the only catch is that you get a somewhat limited builder and no custom domain.

The good news is that if you want the full builder and a custom domain (alongside other benefits), you can purchase a subscription for as low as $9 per year! Yes, that is $9 per year, not per month!

Have you ever wondered if it’s actually safe to put original songs on YouTube? If you have then you must read this article I wrote: Is It Smart to Put Original Songs on YouTube?

The Best Software to Use for Creating Lyric Videos

  1. Windows movie maker– Free
  2. iMovie– Free
  3. Sony Vegas Movie Studio– $50-$60-$100 (depends on the version you choose. Studio/Platinum/Suite)
  4. Premiere Elements– $70
  5. Adobe Premiere Pro CC – $30 per month (This is my No1 choice)

The software I recommend for editing and creating videos is Adobe Premiere Pro CC. This is subscription software, which costs about $30 per month. However, there are some cheaper or free options available admittedly not as good as premier Pro, but they 100% get the job done.

If you cant afford the $30 per month for Premiere Pro, then go for Sony Vegas Movie Studio Suite. This is a great “lite” video editing platform that is great for lyric videos.

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2020 Update: Use WATH to Monetize Cover Songs on YouTube

There is a new service called We Are The Hits. This service allows content creators to license covers that they perform in a legal way and get paid for every view! Thus no more claims and takedowns.

Here is How WATH Works:

1. You can select the song you want to cover from their database, or you can email WATH with your video. If they license your video, they will claim it for you via the content ID system.

2. You are not allowed to monetize the video, WATH does.

3. You can use the built-in uploaded via the WATH website or upload your cover directly to YouTube. As long as your cover song is claimed by them, you will be paid accordingly.

4. You don’t get paid based on your video OR channel. The way it works is WATH figures out how many claims they have for cover songs VS how many YouTubers they have for a given cover song. Then they pay all users accordingly.

6. Even if you have a content ID match from a third party, WATH can override that match and claim it for you.

WATH has a list of songs we can use that they have the license and gives us permission to use it. You upload your video to WATH’s website then it enters the content ID database. We are the hits does not own your recording; they just claim it for YouTube. 

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