Florida's Top YouTube Stars
Four Floridians are among those making a living from YouTube.
In November, Sarasota-based music group Boyce Avenue headlined and sold out the Royal Albert Hall in London — perhaps the ultimate validation of the online path they chose to seek success.
Brothers Daniel, Fabian and Alejandro Manzano are serious musicians who briefly tried the traditional route to stardom. They played the college and bar circuit, but realized as they reached their mid-20s that they were as serious about settling down and starting families as they were about music. They knew from their gigs that people liked to hear bands cover well-known songs, and they saw the same thing online. In 2007, they posted their first YouTube video under the name Boyce Avenue, named for a combination of Sarasota streets. They did the work themselves. The earliest online video shows them performing in front of a white sheet, but they always made sure to record the audio to the highest quality they could, eventually turning to studios and professional engineers.
YouTube and covers provided a way to introduce people to their original music. They collaborated with other YouTube mainstream and cover artists for some of their most-viewed videos. As their fan base grew, they started to tour — globally — thanks to the global reach of online.
“We, from an early stage of our career, were able to tour all over the world,” says Daniel Manzano. They tour three to four months a year here and abroad.
Their videos — covers, original music, video from live shows — have been viewed in the aggregate 3.7 billion times. An important thing in online is to produce consistently to keep the audience with you, Daniel Manzano says. The benefit of online is instant response to see what’s working.
Daniel Manzano says they’ve been able to support their families, buy houses, have 401(k)s and IRAs and employees. “Sarasota, Florida, is still very much home to us,” he says.
Income: From YouTube ad revenue alone, assuming 50 million views a month, Boyce Avenue likely earns between $50,000 and $200,000 a month, according to Social Blade. This is based on an industry average $1 to $4 per thousand views (or RPM, revenue-permille) that larger channels usually see on YouTube. The band also earns revenue from song downloads and streaming, touring and merchandising. The band pays royalties for covers it streams or downloads; its YouTube covers come under a blanket license YouTube has with music publishers.