Remember the rap video about hot Cheetos and Takis that went viral? The earworm was made by kids in north Minneapolis -- but after 6 million hits on YouTube, they haven't seen a cent and are wondering why.
On Thursday, the kids at the YMCA in north Minneapolis told FOX 9 News about their next big video, which is called, "My Bike" -- but no one has seen it and the kids are starting to wonder if they ever will.
"My understanding is: They don't want the conflict they are having with 'Hot Cheetos and Takis,'" said Helen Hunter, a parent of one of the kids involved. "They have not released the video."
Yet, the young artists say that's because it's still a work in progress.
Their breakout video was created through the Beats and Rhymes program at the YMCA, where the kids earned their studio time. Then, a freelance videographer volunteered to shoot and edit the video locally and put it on his YouTube channel.
After seven months, the video is pushing 6 million views -- and YouTube starts paying once a video crosses 1 million. They put a commercial in front of the song and then send money directly to the videographer, who told FOX 9 News that the 3 million views garnered in a single month added up to $1,700.
"We had no way we had any idea of knowing when we released it," Johnson said.
The videographer has since donated all of that money back to the YMCA, where it was used to pay for a new microphone and other supplies. Since then, more money has trickled in and mixed with other profits on the same YouTube channel; however, it's often less than $200 a month.
"In the case of the video: That's not ours. We didn't pay for his service. We didn't sign any contract," Johnson explained. "He donated it to us, in which case we say, 'Hey, Rich is the owner. He donated his time, and now he has donated his dollars back to say, 'I just want this program to be sustained for hundreds of other kids down the road.'"
However, parents and the new producer the kids signed with out of Los Angeles believe the profits should be closer to $10,000 and were hoping that some of the money could help with college funds.
"You know, we looked up on the Internet. We know how much you get from a YouTube video, and that's our kids' face you're selling," said Hunter.
Yet, Johnson says the YMCA is not a record label or an entertainment company.
"We are a youth-serving program," she said. "This is a youth-serving facility. So, this is what we do."
More than money, everyone is looking forward to the future. The kids say sudden fame has already taught them a lot. Even so, they have left the YMCA and the studio and mentors they were used to. Now, they are working with a company out of Los Angeles but they still perform around town. They hope to have a new song and a fresh start sometime in the next six months.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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