YouTube Effect: Making Money from Viral Videos

Keyboard Cat has generated some $20,000. A look at smart moves for stupid snippets

Illustration by Gretel for TIME

YouTube has been the birthplace of many Internet stars, but few of them have had the business savvy to turn video views into paychecks. Take Sam Tsui, the site's latest crowd pleaser. A fresh-faced a cappella singer at Yale, Tsui has an impressive voice, but the real draw is the electronic wizardry that allows him to harmonize onstage with five digital versions of himself. Glee, meet Attack of the Clones.

Since July, Tsui's medley of Michael Jackson hits has been viewed more than 2.4 million times — but he hasn't made any money yet from that music...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!