Skip To Content

    YouTube Parody Videos Now Make More Money Than Original Material

    YouTube is making a huge amount of money for record labels, but not in ways you might expect.

    YouTube is now the most popular online music service in the world, with one billion users, and it generates millions in advertising revenues, some of which is passed on to record labels and artists.

    Shohei Miyano / Reuters / Reuters

    But since record labels began officially licensing their music to YouTube, something strange has happened: parodies of songs created by fans and comedians overall now generate more money than "official" material, according to the annual report of the music industry body IFPI, according to the annual report of the music industry body IFPI.

    While parody videos were once routinely banned - everything from Downfall parodies to musical renditions of songs have been taken down - they are now encouraged.

    For example, comedian Steve Kardynal's version of Call Me Maybe has been viewed 14.5 million times.

    View this video on YouTube

    That's nothing compared to the 539 million views the original has had so far, but artists and labels are making more money - overall - from funny parodies than glossy originals.

    Bart Baker's piss-taking version of Lady Gaga's Applause has had 10 million views and counting.

    View this video on YouTube

    While his version of Gangnam Style, which probably wasn't the first to suggest Gangnam sounds a bit like condom, has had 32 million views.

    View this video on YouTube
    Improvements in the handling of user generated content (UGC) are helping rights holders grow income from YouTube and other licensed platforms. Google's ContentID system has made it easier for rights holders to differentiate between video types, allowing the streaming of non-official user-generated content such as mashups to be licensed and monetised, rather than removed for infringing copyright.YouTube's TrueView tool for advertising is also having a positive impact in monetising music videos. According to YouTube, revenues generated from UGC on its platform have now overtaken those generated by official videos.

    Meanwhile, the most-streamed and downloaded track in the world last year was Blurred Lines.