YouTube has confirmed a big milestone to Billboard: $1 billion in payouts from its ContentID copyright earmarking system since its launch seven years ago.
The system is made available to select creators and rightsholders (generally companies that hold a large amount of rights, like labels and film studios) in order to control how content they hold the rights to is made available within YouTube.
“Content ID has empowered creators to remix, curate and celebrate their favorite songs and videos, resulting in videos that are both entertaining legions of fans and rewarding rights holders with revenue,” director of product management Matthew Glotzbach tells Billboard.
YouTube has 1 billion active users each month, watching 9 billion hours of video. YouTube’s Content ID is used by companies to monetize videos generally uploaded without their consent, and not videos uploaded by rightsholders. My (an admittedly apples and oranges) comparison, Spotify paid out $500 million to content owners in 2013, across 24 million users. The disparity should be heartening to rightsholders in at least one way, however, as YouTube’s subscription streaming service looms.