Local artists make thousands on YouTube

A local producer is making thousands of tala from creating YouTube videos and is encouraging other Samoan artists to follow his lead and generate an income from social media. 

Speaking to the Sunday Samoan, recording artist Uili Lafaele, better known by his DJ name Pesega Boe, said several local artists are banking on their YouTube Videos.

Mr. Lafaele has been profiting from his Pesega Records YouTube channel for about one year. He also operates a second YouTube channel, Inspirational Music With Pesega Boe.

In a span of two months, he made $14,000 from videos on his YouTube channel. 

“I really want to let people know that you can make money on YouTube. I encourage people to monetise their YouTube channels,” said Mr. Lafaele.

“That is why I am doing this, making videos and putting them on YouTube. I think it’s been one year now.”

Samoa’s financial infrastructure does not allow locals to access YouTube profits directly.  

He works with a digital marketing company located in New Zealand called Precise Digital.

Precise Digital is a rights management, monetisation and distribution company that distributes Pesega Boe’s videos to various online platforms.

They track his viewers and make sure he gets paid.

“I work with a company in New Zealand and they send the money straight into my account. There is no company here in Samoa that does what they do. For about two months, I made $7,000 New Zealand dollars…I receive money every two months. When it’s converted to Samoan tala that’s $14,000 for two months,” said Mr. Lafaele.

“You can give them a song and they will distribute it to other music platforms like YouTube, Spotify, and iTunes. So you can give them one song and they send it to those platforms. So you don’t only make money from YouTube but from Spotify and Apple Music too.”

On YouTube, viewers mean money. The more viewers you have, the more money you make, he explained.

The $14,000 made in two months was from the views and plays received by all videos uploaded within that time period.

In his arrangement with the New Zealand company, Mr. Lafaele says he receives 80 percent and Precise takes 20 percent.

Asked if cutting out the middle man would make financial sense, he acknowledged that perhaps it would but he said that Precise also fights to protect his music from copyright infringement.

“It all depends on the number of viewers so you have to make sure your videos go viral because that will mean more money for you,” said Mr. Lafaele.

As an example, he pointed to “Tasi Ae Afe” a Samoan song by Victor featuring Taumate. The video can be found on the Tuisamau Entertainment YouTube channel that has more than 3,000 subscribers.

The song was written by Seiuli Victor Elisara and produced by Mr. Lafaele and Sam Chookoon (Pesega Records); sponsored by NightHawk in American Samoa and Savai’i.

“For example, the video Tasi Ae Afe: Seiuli is making lots of money on that video. He is one of our local artists [making money from YouTube videos],” said Mr. Lafaele.

The video was uploaded on 1 May, 2021 and 15 days later it has received more than 290,000 views.

Among the Samoan artists to have already successfully monetised their YouTube channels are Della & Lagi, Seiuli, Taumate Neemia and Kiva.

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