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DJ Lyta: Why DJs don’t make money from YouTube and streaming apps

By Sinda Matiko December 3rd, 2022 2 min read

There has always been a misconception that disc jockeys (Deejays) make a lot of revenue from audio streaming platforms such as YouTube, Boomplay, Audiomack, and Spotify among others just like musicians do.

Several DJs have amassed huge numbers of subscribers and streams on these platforms from their mixtapes, which in most cases many have always assumed the figures translate to direct revenue.

However, Samuel Mwangi popularly known as DJ Lyta has deciphered this narrative.

His mixtapes have been performing well on Youtube where he has a total viewership of over 23 million as well as Mdundo, where he is among the top five artistes with the most streams in Kenya.

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Popular mix spinmater, DJ Lyta
Popular mix spinmaster, DJ Lyta

However, unlike musicians themselves, DJ Lyta says he has never made direct income from streams.

“As deejays, we don’t and can’t make money directly from those streams as artists do simply because the songs we mix are not our Intellectual property.” He explains.

In this regard, he says it would be a fraudulent transaction to earn money in such a manner.

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But even then, DJ Lyta notes that there are no loopholes to earn money directly from streams because the music is always protected.

“When we play mixes, the royalties are collected from our accounts and distributed to respective copyright holders.”

To the DJs, the only value they get from mixing tapes is marketing their brands to get noticed and attract gigs.

Popular mix spinmater, DJ Lyta
Popular mix spinmaster, DJ Lyta

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Barnabas Otieno aka DJ Mantix known for his matatu mixes agrees.

“You rarely make money from the streams, not unless the song is yours because there are DJs who are music producers as well.

But for us, uploading mixes on these platforms is for the sake of publicity.

How much you publicize your work will determine the number of gigs you are likely to get and that’s how you make your money.”

This explains why on many DJ-centric channels on YouTube, there is always an Mpesa number that someone can use to tip the spinmaster.

On his channel, DJ Lyta leaves an Mpesa and Sendwave number as well as Paypal for anyone kind enough to tip him should he or she enjoy his mixes.

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