I was asked - "how do some artists or content creators get paid for YouTube plays and some dont?" In fact, there are cases of artist/creators that have had millions of hits but NOT made a dime.
From what I understnad if you have enough videos on your "personal" YouTube Channel - such as these young kids that are doing whole series of videos on how to use Sony Vegas, After Effects, and instructional videos on many other software applications. In short, they end up with a LOT of content and get a LOT of hits and then they apply for "YouTube Partnership" (the more videos, the more hits, etc means MORE AD vies and hence pays for that dedicated channel) - which equals AD REV's for plays.
Otherwise, this is what I understand to be the basic YouTube Revenue Model:
If one Google's song or just searches in YouTube or even clicks through to a YouTube via a link from a website, blog, tweet, or from a social network, etc it will take you to a "main" type of YouTube Page with a number and/or list of many videos...therein are the ADS at the top and right side of those pages and YouTube will REV SHARE those ADS IF You are a "Partner"(and then you can subscribe to that channel and THEN go watch ALL the videos); but if one just has a video up there and doesn't have a WAY of tracking it via Analytics that's tied to the partnership deal, then no way to get paid. Of course, you can also use Ad Sense on your personal video channel which means each time someone visits your exclusive channel you can get paid - but the "partnership deal" is way more lucrative "IF" you get HITS. If you're not using AD SENSE then you are at the mercy of the ads placed on YouTube by Google and hence you won't ever get paid.
There's a YouTube link that you can Google on "How to become a YouTube partner" and the rules are pretty stringent - you have to have viable CONTENT and get a lot of hits and PROVE or make a case via a statement as to WHY YouTube should be a partner with you.
One can also get paid for Ads that run BEFORE your video *(which you see with a lot of major artists) - which means that you've either set up a deal with an Ad company or directly with the advertising division of a major company that comes to you or vice versa to get THEIR AD PLACEDE and then the money is paid direct to you the "video channel owner" based upon the number of plays. Pay for plays. And then a smaller chunk for the Ad Sense adverts that are on your "video channel" that can also be set up for a "click through fee" if people go to that company and BUY something! So you have to run Analytics to show that you do have the click throughs to that company that BUYS from your Ad Sense placed - which is a LOT easier to track via a widget from your own website vs. YouTube
But just like with My Space - I questioned way back in 2005 or so - when would they start to pay a small performance fee via streaming fee for my spins for all my copyrights - which is now with all 4 of my My Space Pages combined well over 15,000 to 20K spins - but NOT a penny on my BMI Statement and don't expect to see it with the soon demise of My Space. BMI and ASCAP just doesn't want to PAY because it's hard to tell if someone listened to 1/10 of the song or the whole thing based upon their current set up on My Space - and artists can log in and increase their spins by playing their own music over and over - which is somewhat true of Reverbnation - they all but accused me of doing that when I NEVER go to "my MY BAND" site and listen to my own stuff - just got a bunch of people that know me that go stream my music all the time - but I can understand why it could LOOK like it was just me doing it. However, do go to Sound Exchange and register as they will help you colllect for Digital Royalties for STREAMING your music in any number of formats http://www.soundexchange.com/
The real crux of the problem is that the Law cannot keep up with technology such that artists can get PAID for their YouTube spins, my space spins, and every other way a song can be listened to LEGALLY - not pirating. But YOU CAN get paid a small amount for Reverbnation and similar digital distributors for your streams and/or sales through iTunes, etc - it's not much - but you do get paid.
Lastly, unless you take your "video" and post it to iTunes then you won't get anything but AD money as opposed to the link was sent to me: http://www.youtube.com/show/autotunethenews?s=1
You should note that on link #4 Bed Intruder (now on iTunes) they have to give credit and hence revenue share with and to the "family" on the video as well as to the copyright creators and of course iTunes.
So that's basically it - if you don't sign up for the partnership AND get it - you won't get paid and even if you do it's fraction of pennies on the dollar.
If an unsigned artist wants to monetize a single, he/she can sign up for the "Individual Video Partnership Program" with YT. Also, the amount of advertising revenue a video can earn is totally the function of the performance of the video, but the creators of "David After Dentist", a two-minute clip that has generated 63M views on the site, have made $30K from the original video. That equates to $0.00047619 per view.
So what does that mean for the creators? File your copyrights! Send in your Clearance forms to BMI/ASCAP/SESAC and make sure you sign up for the “Partnership Program” and then hit the social networks and get the word out!
SM and MSO