The Future Is Now: Making Money In Southern Gospel Music

youtube-logo-full_colorWhen I was thinking about new features I wanted to offer this year, my mind immediately went to; how to make money in Southern Gospel music in 2016.  While everything I relay in this series relates to my knowledge, as an accountant/CFO, in the business world; the information can be translated to Southern Gospel music.

It is interesting that Danny Jones, editor of Singing News Magazine, mentioned in January 2016’s from the editor section that Southern Gospel music is changing.  I was finally glad to hear that industry folk finally recognize that in order to stay relevant and successful (at least earn a living), you have to adapt your business models to current trends.  What you did twenty years ago won’t work in 2016.  What you were doing a decade ago is not going to work in 2016.

This first post will look at an additional revenue stream that one artist (Gaither anyone) has already latched onto; YouTube.  The first question an artist may have is, how do I make money posting videos or audio clips of our music to YouTube?  Here are a few quick pointers.

  1. Everyone that has a YouTube account (log-in/password) can post videos to their channel.
  2. In order to begin generating revenue, you have to brand/promote your channel to gain at least 1,000 subscribers.
  3. Once the channel hits the subscriber threshold, you can set your channel up for monetization.
  4. That is simply enabling ads to display on your video prior to the viewer watching.  Revenue is generated for your channel when viewers watch the ads prior to the video.
  5. You can also allow your music clips/videos to be accessed through the YouTube music app generated through the new YouTube Red viewer subscription service.  An added bonus is that as a content creator you don’t have to pay YouTube to keep your music on the YouTube music app/YouTube Red.
  6. To collect the revenue, you create an AdSense account to link to your YouTube account.
  7. How much revenue can you generate by linking ads to your YouTube content?  It all depends on how many views the video receives; which ultimately is determined by how many viewers/subscribers you have for your channel.  Advertisers want their ads to appear before content creators who have a large viewership/subscriber base (like traditional television, where advertisers pay for premium ad space on the most viewed television programs).
  8. Once your channel is large enough, you can then go through a verification process with YouTube to have your channel verified as an authentic original content YouTube channel.  Verified YouTube channels, as a result of their YouTube market share will receive the best ad buy space from advertisers.

Many will scoff and say that it is pointless to go through all this just for a few pennies here and there.  Let me get that thought out of your head now by giving this example.

  • I know a content creator (amateur film maker) on YouTube that creates upwards of two vlogs (original content) a week and he posts them to his channel.
  • His channel has grown to over 550,000 subscribers, with each vlog video receiving upwards of 150,000 to 300,000  views.
  • Because of his huge subscriber numbers (YouTube market share), the ad revenue he generates from his channel is substantial.  Lets just say it is enough that YouTube has become the source for him to earn a living; and one that earns more than I do a year working full-time as an accountant.
  • I am aware of some YouTube content creators that have upwards of 5,000,000 subscribers, generating upwards of six figures a year in YouTube ad revenue.

I am well aware that Southern Gospel music doesn’t have the reach of the example I just listed, but it does have enough of a reach for artists to make additional revenue to help with declining CD sales and reduced flats/love offerings because of crowd sizes.  Is it a perfect fix?  Of course not, nothing is, but it is definitely something to look at in trying to earn additional revenue in 2016.  Here is a few current YouTube statistics of some of the bigger Southern Gospel names that have YouTube channels.

  • GaitherVEVO – 222.978 subscribers; easily the largest YouTube subscriber presence for Southern Gospel music.  I can tell you Gaither is not scoffing at the additional revenue he is receiving from YouTube as a result of his subscriber base and video views.  If Gaither can gain this many subscribers, then most of the big names in Southern Gospel music should be able to generate at least half that number to gain an additional revenue stream.
  • TheIsaacsVEVO – 2,463 subscribers; Very little content with no new uploads in over two years.  Missed opportunity.
  • ErnieHaase – 3,767 subscribers; Ernie has a channel for the group but I am surprised it doesn’t have more subscribers.
  • greatervisionmusic – 1,012 subscribers; Greater Vision just reached the 1,000 subscriber minimum to begin monetization.  I would jump on it.
  • DaywindRecords – 1,160 subscribers; Don’t know if the channel is monetized, but Karen Peck & New River’s, “Pray Now” video has nearly 38,000 views alone.



7 thoughts on “The Future Is Now: Making Money In Southern Gospel Music

    1. You wouldn’t be able to monetize your channel because the videos you post are not your original content. The artist themselves would be the only one who could create a channel, post their video (original content) and have it monetized.

  1. Great information. Love this type of article.

    I’ve said before that I probably wouldn’t be a SG fan if it wasn’t for Gaither stuff on YouTube.

    SG artists need to realize we, as fans, use YouTube to listen to their music. They might as well make money from it…

  2. If you put up the video for example of Karen Peck singing ‘Pray Now’ it automatically links to Daywind Record company’s database they get money for every time the song is played.

  3. while some of the comments are relevant to today, if you go to a SG concert, take a look at who is there and who is buying CD’s. The money people are still the seniors

  4. Interesting read. I came across an article today about something called Audiam. Apparently if you sign up to Audiam and upload your music, they use some sort of ID programs to “fingerprint” your music and then sift through the billions of videos on youtube to find it. Once found,they get youtube to place ads on those videos and they pay you 75% of revenue collected from videos posted by other people and 100% from those posted by yourself. Apparently youtube pays just 55% of the revenue and they only pay when a video makes

    1. sorry for the incomplete comment. continued……..a $100, apparently you don’t have to wait for your video to make a hundred bucks to get paid with Audiam.

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