Less than a year ago, video giant YouTube announced that people were uploading 20 hours of video to the site every minute. They encouraged users to upload even more. Today, they’ve announced that a full day’s worth of content is uploaded per minute.

And finally, YouTube is in a position to monetize those videos.

According to the YouTube blog:

“Today, we’re announcing that you’ve done it! In just 60 quick ticks of the second hand, more than a full, action-packed day in Jack Bauer’s life is now uploaded to YouTube.”

Meanwhile, YouTube is finally bringing some premium content onto the site, with partnerships with various movie studios and television networks. But it is also learning how to monetize that former untouchable medium: user generated content.

YouTube is on track to earn $1 billion in revenue this year, due mostly to the simple fact that “it is placing more ads on more videos.”

Just this year, the site has announced various programs that help bring in more money, from (almost live) streaming of sporting events to banner ads on mobile videos. But YouTube is not abandoning its user generated roots.

Earlier this month, I wrote about how the band OK Go left its label to start promoting itself independently. Considering the impressive virality of the band’s videos, they stand to gain a lot from online video, including some of the revenues lost from consumers abandoning cd purchases.

But starting today, YouTube is announcing a new program called Musicians Wanted, that lets any band start monetizing videos, either on YouTube or their own site. In January, they announced a similar program for films called Filmmakers Wanted.

Last year, YouTube enabled anyone with decent viewership numbers to start putting ads on their videos. And the site has a lot of room to grow as an aggregator and discoverer of content.

Earlier this week, TV blog NewTeeVee featured some video on YouTube’s front page, and saw some impressive returns. An example:

“Acting School Academy’s featured episode gained 200,000 more
views in the first day, and other videos received an additional 100,000
views. In addition, their subscribers increased from 675 to 2000, and
those numbers continue to grow. The show is approaching one million
total views across all networks. “That’s a number we can take places,
get meetings with, and hopefully [use to] get funding for a second
season,” director M. Ian Smith said via email.”

While premium content next to large brand advertising may be the holy grail for online video, YouTube is doing pretty well following Google’s tried and true method — if you puts enough advertising options on enough content, pretty soon you’ll start to see impressive results.

Image: YouTube