NPR’s Laura Sydell has a story today that examines how much musicians earn via Youtube’s ad monetization, “Youtube Shares Ad Revenue With Musicians, But Does it Add Up?

YouTube is well-known for videos, but a recent Nielsen study revealed 64 percent of teens and young adults go to it to listen to and discover music. The free website, which is owned by Google, has set up advertising deals to help musicians get compensated. But it’s not clear how they’re getting paid — or how much.

First of all, I’d point out that Google didn’t “set up” advertising deals to “help” musicians get compensated.  Advertising on YouTube was established to help Google make money.  For them, compensating artists in some fashion is merely a part of doing business.  Google’s motivations aside, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post on YouTube’s monetization program:

The other grey area with regard to the Content ID system and monetization is the utter lack of transparency.  How much does Google actually make off the ads that appear next to your content?  It’s not entirely clear and something Google should fix.  One can only assume it’s to Google’s benefit, and not the artist’s, to keep this part of the system as opaque as possible.

Bottom line, musicians and filmmakers whose work is routinely uploaded to YouTube without permission can make some money from it.  Time for Google to tell us exactly how much they are making.  Anything less than full transparency is unacceptable.