How do they win? Why YouTube Views Are Trending In The Digital Age


Diamond Platinum [Photo: Courtesy]

This week, Tanzanian pop artist Nasibu Abdul aka Diamond Platnumz hit the four million YouTube subscriber mark, the highest for any artist in the region. It comes just a month after the boss of music stable Wasafi Classic Baby made history by becoming the first musician from sub-Saharan Africa to rack up more than a billion views on YouTube.

“Four million subscribers on YouTube! This wouldn’t have been possible without you, let’s meet at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium so I can express my gratitude,” the singer updated as he released hit after hit.

It was the same week that top Kenyan hip-hop artists faced off in a heated debate sparked by YouTube views. The debate started when rapper Henry Ohanga, real name Octopizzo, was put on the spot by a number of rappers including Natalie Florence aka Noti Flow.

Read also : Fake YouTube views? Noti Flow throws shade at rapper Octopizzo, he responds

Eyebrows raised when Octopizzo’s song Nikupate posted 854,000 hours of views before release; views dwindled to 479,559 shortly thereafter. Rapper Khaligraph Jones was quick to accuse Octopizzo of buying online views to gain popularity.

One would be amazed to know why YouTube’s numbers matter to artists and other business people and performers who upload videos to the platform. Did you realize that when you go to social media to watch someone’s video post, you are prompted to subscribe to the person’s channel to see the rest of the video?

It’s because YouTube is the new cash cow. Every time you log in and start watching a music video or saying a comedy skit, a banner ad pops up and you’re prompted to continue watching or skip it. What is more interesting is the fact that the ad will be very relevant to you. YouTube has a nifty way of tricking Google into learning about your web browsing and viewing habits.

With more than six billion hours of video streamed each month by more than one billion unique users, YouTube is the new music gallery. They now call it the jukebox of the world. Content creators are in a rigorous race to attract subscribers to their channels, a creative business that translates into money.

This lucrative business that started a few years ago has now reached East Africa. The musicians lead the way. Interest in YouTube has been boosted by current restrictions on social gatherings. The restrictions have led to the cancellation of musical performances, a source of income for artists. More and more artists are now uploading their videos to earn on YouTube.

Also Read: How Your Favorite Influencers and Artists Might Buy Fake YouTube Views

“YouTube is making us money after concerts are canceled,” admits H_Art the Band, a Kenyan boy band that is on the rise with its recently released debut album. Made in the streets.

To protect copyright content and avoid its duplication, a YouTuber is advised to join a Multi-Channel Network (MCN) and acquire a content identity, which protects intellectual content online and ensures that you are the legitimate person who is compensated for the acquired views converged from your channel.

Some of the Kenyan artists with massive followers include Willy Paul, Eric Omondi, Akothee, Michelle Anyango, Fashion Wizardry, Wabosha Maxine, Wajesus Family, Njugush and Reverend Lucy Natasha.

So how do they win?

“There are three ways to earn income for YouTubers: the first is through affiliate marketing, the second through YouTube ads, and the third through sponsorships,” said YouTuber Michelle Anyango. She also revealed that she was paid $1 (Sh108) for 600 views. She has more than 650,000 subscribers.

According to Morris Githinji aka Ala-C who manages artist content on YouTube, it takes 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours to qualify for paid ads. Comedian Eric Omondi has nearly half a million subscriptions. Fred Omondi, his brother, who only recently registered his channel, said he had not yet started making money. Deejay Lisney, a newcomer to the industry, has also joined the YouTube money hunt.

“I didn’t start earning because the music I previously uploaded is not mine. This money (for music) goes directly to the artists. However, I now own a channel and the rights so that I can start earning,” Lisney said. The lowest amount YouTube can pay is $100 (about 10,822 shillings) payable monthly.

Read also : Globally, Kenya generated the most views for Diamond, according to YouTube trend manager

Ala-C urges fans to watch ads placed to help artists win. “The number of views you get on YouTube doesn’t translate into revenue. YouTube primarily targets the 24-35 age group,” he said.

“I used to charge 50,000 shillings for an advertisement, but some clients have cut it in half due to Covid-19 challenges,” Ala-C said. New content creators with trending videos also reap a lot. They include Kenyan Gengetone artists, beauty tutorial channels, comedians and pranksters.

Some of the fastest rising newcomers include Kartelo with 60,000 subscribers and comedian Flaqo who tops newbies with nearly 300,000 subscribers.


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