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Earnings On Medium, YouTube, Spotify, Google Adsense, and More Compared

Let’s take a look at potential earnings on these platforms

Thinking about side-hustling your way to financial freedom? Have too many options? I’ve been there.

As a new content creator, the online world is an endless paradise of possibilities to make a living with your content.

That is good because really the possibilities are endless.

It’s a bad thing because …. well, where do you start?

Let’s figure this out!

Income Streams

Here are the top 5 things to keep in mind when trying to figure out what to do online:

  1. There are a million and one ways to make money online. Most are legit, some are scams.
  2. Most of these opportunities involve some sort of creative work or digital content/ product creation.
  3. True PASSIVE income is hard to come by, most projects involve (a lot of) work initially and frequently.
  4. Everyone starts at ZERO.
  5. There’s a niche for everything. Do what you do best, and don’t try to force it.

Income prospects

To figure out what to do online, other than your interests and passions, a steady and sufficient income is high up on the wishlist of most aspiring creators.

With this in mind, let me compare 5 income streams that I’m familiar with in terms of earnings.

Common ground

To compare earnings on different platforms, I use 1000 views as a marker. Most platforms operate with a similar metric. Views, impressions, streams, etc.

Although some might not be 1:1 comparable, they’re close enough for a general overview of earning potential.

Also, a quick disclaimer, these numbers are from my experience. In many cases, earnings per 1000 views highly fluctuate within a platform due to different pay rates, other metrics that play a part in earnings, time of the year, or other reasons.

Now let’s go!


Writing is one of the oldest and still very popular online side-hustles or career paths. Blogs, copywriting, creative writing, ghostwriting, etc.

Medium is essentially a blogging site and you can earn money via the Medium partner program through paying members that read your stories.

Once you’re a member, your metered posts will earn based on member reading time. Views alone are not a reliable metric to calculate earnings, but we can use an average over a number of posts to identify an estimate for my case. I did that in a post a while back and the result was:

$34 per 1000 views on Medium

Side note: There are lots of Medium alternatives, some pay, some don’t. Paying alternatives like Vocal Media, NewsBreak, Simily often operate with view metrics. For example:

  1. Vocal: $3.80 per 1000 views (or $6 for Vocal+ members)
  2. Simily: $20 per 1000 unique views
  3. NewsBreak: hard to pinpoint. I can’t give good numbers here. Do you know more? Tell me!


Another side-hustle I’m familiar with because of my two channels is YouTube.

YouTube operates similarly to Medium in terms of the partner program. You need to earn money on YouTube. In contrast to MediumYouTube’s earnings rely on ads via Adsense.

On average over the last year, I had an RPM of about $3 for my niche. In the case of YouTube, this number doesn’t mean much. The rate highly fluctuates based on the niche, the advertisers, the time of the year, and more. It can be lower or much much higher, even ten-fold of that. Keep that in mind. Using my number we’re at:

$3 per 1000 views on YouTube


Music is a viable side-hustle. if you’re a musician, a singer, a DJ, or a casual music lover who likes to play around with audio-creation software, you can use Spotify to market your music and earn money with it.

And Spotify is not the only platform to do this, of course. There are many more like Apple Music, Amazon Musik, Google Play Music, Napster, Deezer, etc.

To calculate earnings here, we take a look at 1000 streams (of your songs) which is comparable to views on many platforms.

We’re looking at $2.50 for 1000 streams on Spotify

Comparing this to other music streaming services is interesting because Spotify sits at the lower end of pay rates. Look at:

  1. Apple Music: $6.77 per 1000 streams
  2. Amazon Unlimited: $10,96 per 1000 streams (Amazon Prime: $1,39 per 1000 streams)
  3. Deezer: $4,12 per 1000 streams

Google Adsense

Finally, let’s have a look at Google Adsense, the most commonly-used ad platform for bloggers and website owners. Google serves an enormous amount of ads on websites, YouTube channels, and all over the internet.

However, this doesn’t translate to better pay, unfortunately. And just like YouTubeAdsense website ads fluctuate extremely as well. You might be looking at anything from $1 to $30 per 1000 views on a regular basis.

In my own experience, after 13+ years of blogging with Adsense ads, I had an average of:

Around $2–3 per 1000 views.

The bottom line

If you’ve been paying attention up until now, you know who the clear winner in terms of earnings per 1000 views is in this comparison round.

It’s Medium with a rate of roughly $34 per 1000 views.

Would you have guessed this before?

A quick recap of the numbers for 1000 views:

  1. Medium: $34
  2. YouTube: $3
  3. Spotify: $2.50
  4. Google Adsense: $2–3

Now, does this mean, you’ll earn the most money on Medium? No, it doesn’t.

While the earnings per 1000 views seem high, getting a consistently high number of views on Medium is hard.

On other platforms, especially YouTube, it is (or can be) a lot easier to get thousands, even millions of views. I roughly have 3.5 million views on YouTube. You won’t get that on Medium.

In the end, let me repeat what I started with:

There’s a niche for everything. Do what you do best, and don’t try to force it.

Don’t try to be a YouTuber if you don’t want to make videos, don’t create for Spotify if you despise making music, and don’t write if you hate writing.

And for truly passive income, odds are that the risk (or the upfront cost) involved is much higher. Take a look at stocks, cryptos, or real estate.

Pick what you love and stay consistent, then you’ll start making money online.

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