Niche Knowledge #3: White Bat Audio
Synthwave music has become a popular subgenre of original music on YouTube.
Synthwave is electronic, sort of like modern techno music, generally free of or with limited lyrics, that reflects a certain theme or mood, and often meant to evoke the sci-fi, horror, or action movie genres. It contains themes such as “80’s crime thriller,” “cyberpunk,” or “dark dystopian.”
It’s great to listen to while exercising, studying, getting into the “zone,” or even just relaxing.
White Bat Audio writes great, original, royalty free and copyright safe synthwave compositions. The artist Karl Casey asks that they be credited “Karl Casey @ White Bat Audio” if their music is used. White Bat Audio’s music can’t be used for remixes, re-recordings with vocals, or simply re-uploaded under another name. However, their music can be used for things like YouTube videos, livestreams, video games, and podcasts, with proper attribution. This even includes videos/projects that are monetized.
Whole albums and songs are available for download on their website, as well as on sites like Spotify and Bandcamp.
White Bat Audio is an active producer, generally uploading content every few days. Their videos come with striking, possibly AI-generated artwork, that makes for very bold and clickable thumbnails, that reflect the mood/genre of the music.
Fo example, here’s a screenshot from a video titled “Cyberpunk Darksynth Remix — Brainscan.”
As of now, the channel has 570 uploads, and 135,000 subscribers. Its most popular video, a two-hour Synthwave mix called “L.A. Sunset” has 1.8 million views.
According to AK Records, a recording studio based in Albania, musical artists can earn about $6 USD per 1000 impressions on YouTube, from Google Adsense ads. Artists can also generate income through YouTube’s Content ID, which only works for original music. Content ID automatically scans for whenever someone uploads a video using an artist’s music, and then pays the artist a cut from that video’s ad revenue.
Social Blade estimates that White Bat Audio currently makes anywhere from $344-$5,500 a month just from Adsense revenue, and upwards of $66,100 a year. But that’s only one part of the overall revenue potential one can generate in a music niche.
In addition to selling their music in downloadable packs, White Bat Audio also sells clothing merch on their website.
The channel solicits donations to a PayPal address on its videos.
Interestingly, it does not make use of affiliate links to music or related products. Companies like Bose, and chain stores like Target have affiliate programs, which could potentially provide another source of income for an artist like White Bat Audio. But the channel appears content with its current monetization set-up.
Even without taking advantage of affiliate links, it’s likely the channel till makes a strong, livable income from its music. White Bat Audio uploads frequently enough to indicate the creator either works on the channel full-time, or at least as a dedicated hobby. And there’s no putting a price on the satisfaction that comes from seeing your work used and enjoyed by others.
Obviously, the synthwave music niche is not for everyone. You have to be able to write music using software or on instruments. But it does show that talented musicians and artists can find a strong and lucrative following on YouTube, no matter how “small” or unusual their particular niche. I had no idea the synthwave subgenre even existed until very recently, and since then, I’ve become a fan.
However, like many other content niches, finding success on YouTube in the music space requires consistency and patience. White Bat Audio has been uploading since June 13, 2017, but only saw significant growth after about three years. Check out the charts below to see what I mean:
Views and subscribers didn’t start to ramp up until around late 2020, early 2021. Unlike other niches like cryptocurrency, that can experience sudden massive upticks in popularity whenever Bitcoin starts mooning or a crypto news story goes viral, the growth of a musical subgenre is likely to be more steady and incremental.
And, of course, YouTube is not the only platform in the game. Spotify has a massive user base. According to Ditto Music, Spotify pays anywhere between $0.003 to $0.005 per stream. That’s $3-$5 per 1000 views. There’s the potential for “double-dipping” revenue by cross-posting between YouTube and Spotify, and other platforms as well. Carl Kasey also has almost 62,000 monthly listeners on Spotify in addition to his large YouTube base. And some of his songs, like “Hackers,” have almost 900,000 streams. Even at the low end of the scale, at $0.003 per stream, that might equate to around $2,700 for just the one song, on Spotify alone.
Looking at White Bat Audio’s YouTube, Spotify, download, merch, and PayPal donation income, it’s not hard to see the artist bringing in a six-figure annual income. If the brand used affiliate links, that income could potentially be way higher.
Synthwave may not be the most lucrative niche to get into speaking strictly in business terms, but that’s besides the point. White Bat Audio makes great original music that millions of people enjoy, and offers their music for free for other content providers to use in their projects.
Based on the views and subscribers charts above, the future looks bright for the channel, and for others in the same space. If you’re a musician or an artist of any kind, YouTube is a powerful platform to use for distribution and exposure. Securing a reliable income may take some time. But once you’ve built even a small audience, there are all kinds of opportunties to leverage that following and become a succesful, working artist.