YouTube's latest attempt to offer video makers more ways to make money is a positive sign that the company has listened to the concerns of users, but it solves the greater problems that affect the ability of makers to make money on the platform the first place.
New revenue-generating features, including extensive merchandise options, paid stickers for live stream chats, and different channel membership levels were all announced yesterday by YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan at VidCon. "These new products are not a few small small experiments," Mohan said The edge, adding that existing paid features now generate revenue for & # 39; thousands and thousands & # 39; channels.
But no mention was made of the problems that video makers have managed to maintain over the past few months with the traditional YouTube advertising model, such as uncertainty about revenues and power struggles with record companies.
"Patreon is the largest part of our cake," said essayist Lindsay Ellis The edge, pointing out that she and her team are currently "at war" with the Universal Music Group (UMG) label. "Patreon usually makes up around 50 to 60 percent of our income every month and advertising makes up around 30 percent."
Video makers have realized that they cannot rely on the YouTube advertising model to support their career. Those ads can disappear for a number of reasons: their video can be closed by a questionable copyright claim, they can be punished for violating YouTube's often selectively enforced rules, or another creator can do something extraordinarily bad, causing Advertisers raise money from the site platform and hurt the entire community. By earning money directly from fans, video makers can supplement their revenue from advertisements and also isolate themselves from the uncertainty that results from relying on a single, unpredictable revenue stream. However, it is not a solution for the actual problems with advertising.
YouTube has been tackling a problem with the creators of the problem in recent years by updating the copyright claim policy and making it a little easier. Owners of copyrighted content must now determine the exact location in a video where their material is displayed, clarify the complaint and allow people to edit the material. But even with new initiatives to give YouTubers more power, the fear among the community has not disappeared.
The dominating relationship record labels and TV networks with YouTube have taken hold of the individual makers. Record labels and studios derive most of the revenue from YouTube Premium subscriptions (which offer ads-free playback and music streaming), says Anthony D & # 39; Angelo, a YouTube video maker and former director of the Internet Creators Guild. Record labels take 70 percent of every dollar that Premium subscribers spend, says D & Angelo. The remaining 30 percent is divided between YouTube and video makers. (The edge reached to YouTube for confirmation, but did not hear back at the time of publication.)
"The fact that YouTube Red, or now YouTube Premium, was connected to the streaming service but then sent to video makers because this very & # 39; pro-creator & # 39; service is a big problem," said D & # 39; Angelo . "We know for sure that YouTube Premium views generate more revenue than a standard view, but the lion's share of that revenue goes to the music industry. That's basically unfair, and most people aren't aware of that. & # 39;
A lack of transparency about advertising revenue has also troubled the community. YouTube commentators – what other people in the YouTube community are looking for for insight into the industry – such as Ethan Klein, Nerd City and even Felix & # 39; PewDiePie & # 39; Kjellberg of h3h3Productions has said that this is one of the worst times on YouTube for those who are trying to make money by advertising. It is more unpredictable than ever when it comes to guessing what labels will claim. Jimmy "MrBeast" Donaldson tweeted about losing more than "Five digits" on a video because of a claim he did not understand, and Klein led a campaign against it YouTube to boycott UMG – a frequent target of copyright authors – after YouTube announced a new deal with the record label.
Advertising revenue remains the most important way for video makers to make money on YouTube, but many video makers, including Ellis and performer Natalie Wynn, see access to other sources of income as a necessity.
Both Ellis and Wynn have popular Patreon accounts, and both told The edge that if they know that they have consistent revenue from subscribers, they can create content on YouTube without having to worry about losing ads. Ellis has learned to deal with copyright issues by holding clips for less than three seconds in the hope that they will be seen as reasonable usage, but that doesn't always work.
"It depends on who, but UMG is the worst," said Ellis. "I started to respect Fair Use less and less because it doesn't matter. YouTube doesn't care. & # 39;
Merchandise is also becoming more and more needed, says Chris Lamontagne, CEO of Teespring. Teespring was the first company to collaborate with YouTube in 2018 for the & # 39; merch shelf & # 39; of the platform and it is now expanding to Instagram and Twitch. The advertising revenue is not reliable enough, so video makers must build a brand that goes beyond YouTube, he said.
"I believe we must continue to evolve to create better experiences for consumers to buy the merch they love," Lamontagne said. "We have entered a great time for digital video makers to act as brands."
Like other industries, video makers are starting to build subscription models that pay every month to guarantee revenue. Whether that is a new T-shirt or a membership layer, makers know that the uncertainty surrounding advertising revenue means that they have to take advantage elsewhere. Companies such as Teespring and Fanjoy have helped personalities get something that YouTube has apparently made more difficult – paid. But even if YouTube applies more of these features to its platform, video makers still want the basics to be resolved first.