How I calculated publishing royalties using only YouTube views


The following is a real life case study from EPGD; name/numbers omitted for privilege.

Hello Client, I hope that you are doing well. I have taken my time to analyze the numbers and have come up with a figure that reflects a realistic portrait of the publishing performance royalties generated by the composition “The Song”, written by Artist, and by You. Although this is not a perfect estimation, there are some significant blindspots as you will see, it can give you a good reference point for what you are owed.

Firstly, I have taken a look at the song’s information, using Songview (, a data platform tool that provides an authoritative view of public performance copyright ownership and administration shares for the vast majority of music licensed in the United States.

The Song has a share of 60% administered by ASCAP (Artist Publishing (30%) and its Writer, Artist (30%)). This is out of 200%; which means that there is a portion (140%) that is unassigned. This lets us know that those royalties have not been claimed by ASCAP or BMI. This is the portion from which we would be seeking publishing royalties from.

Secondly, I have calculated the songs projected publishing royalties using a Publishing Simulator by Create/OS ( The Simulator uses a song’s total digital streams to generate its corresponding digital mechanical and performance royalties. First, I reviewed the track’s total YouTube views, which is around 250,000,000 views (“YouTube Views”). Second, I reviewed Artist’s similarly popular tracks on Spotify, and measured them versus those tracks’ YouTube views. Here is a close example, for a song from Artist with similar popularity and style:

  • “Other Song”
  • Spotify – 170,000,000 streams
  • YouTube – 270,000,000 views

If we assume the same ratio as for “Other Song”(.63 ratio), and this is a bold assumption, we can estimate that “The Song” likely has 170,100,000 streams on Spotify (250,000,000 x .63). Now, Spotify is only around 31% of the global streaming market. As for the other streaming platforms, here is their breakdown:

(Q1 2021):
■ Apple Music – 15%
■ Amazon – 13%
■ Tencent – 13%
■ YouTube Music – 8%
■ Other – 20%

Using this data, we can project that the total streams for the song across all platforms are 548,709,677 (“Platform Streams”), this is also a bold assumption, divided as per platform as follows:

■ Spotify (31%) – 170,100,000
■ Apple Music (15%) – 82,306,451
■ Amazon – (13%) – 71,332,258
■ Tencent (CHINA) (13%) – 71,332,258
■ YouTube Music (8%) – 43,896,774
■ Other – (20%) – 109,741,935

Finally, we plug in this information into the Publishing Simulator, both the Platform Streams, as well as YouTube Views, for a Total Streams of:

798,709,667 (“Total Streams”). According to the Simulator, the streaming revenue for this Total Streams is: $862,606 (“Streaming Revenue”). This Streaming Revenue, translated into Digital Publishing Royalties, is as follows:

■ Digital Mechanical Royalties (collected by MLC) – $471,239
■ Digital Performance Royalties (collected by ASCAP/BMI) – $326,792
■ Total – $790,568.00

This number, $798,031 (“Digital Mechanical & Publishing Royalties), represents the projected total revenue generated by Digital Mechanical and Performance Royalties for The Song. However, the analysis above is in reference to digital mechanical and performance royalties only. This number excludes significant publishing royalty sources such as:

■ International Performance Royalties – both traditional and digital, which
may or may not be taken into account by the Simulator;
■ Traditional Performance Royalties – radio, TV, broadcast (collected by
■ Traditional Mechanical Royalties – albums, LPs, cassettes (collected by
■ Neighboring Rights – digital non-interactive plays (collected by

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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Silvino Diaz

Silvino E. Diaz’s practice ranges from Civil and Commercial Litigation to Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law. Silvino has earned a reputation as one of Puerto Rico’s foremost advocates for independent musicians and artists. As a result of his sustained commitment to creative industries, he was named Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Atlantic University College (Guaynabo, PR) – the Caribbean’s leading digital arts institution – where he spearheaded the “Introduction to IP” course for both the graduate and undergraduate programs, and was appointed by the Office of the President to develop an Intellectual Property graduate curriculum, where he served until moving to Miami in 2017. He is the founder of the service known as Starving Artists, where he offers innovative business and legal counsel for artists and creatives.


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.

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