2018 has not been an easy year for independent artists yet. With the net neutrality law in dispute, many artists have been in danger of losing potential revenue. A few days ago, YouTube announced that they are changing their rules for monetization. YouTube monetization allows artists to make money by ads on YouTube based on the amount of clicks their videos get. This program only needed 10000 total views to join the program.
The current changes will raise this bar to at least 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours within the last year. This requirement surely is attainable if you are posting 4-5 videos a week, which means that YouTube content creation is at least your part-time job. But for those artists who don’t have the time to post this frequently, it’s the end of YouTube monetization program as we know it.
With this decision, many independent artists will lose the revenue from YouTube they obtained and according to some artists, perhaps it’s time to think about other platforms to host videos, as I’m sure that YouTube’s competitors will be happy to create an alternative solution. Even small payments are important to artists just starting out, and it can help provide valuable confirmation that their art is being heard by an audience.
The story on YouTube’s side is that 99% of those affected are making less than $100 per year in the last year, with 90% earning less than $2.50 in the last month. And some YouTube influencers have supported the decision: “YouTube’s new rule of taking away monetization from channels with less than 1000 subs is a good idea,” Keemstar wrote. “There are so many clone channels that re-upload other people’s content with ads and they don’t care if they get caught or get banned they just make another channel.” Many reports say that YouTube is trying to gain back the confidence of advertisers, who are not happy that their ads are running on “random clone channels” that includes videos from “marginal groups”, which unfortunately also includes artists.
There are unclear parts of the policy and how will it pan out though. For instance, independent music publishers such as CDBaby and TuneCore also upload their users’ music to YouTube for monetization. This is a wide practice as many people listen to music on YouTube and it is one way or another, an income source for artists. However, the music uploaded here are not ‘officially’ channels, because someone can not login and upload videos to them. They are merely automated channels that upload music from CDBaby or TuneCore servers to YouTube and basically are run by bots. So what will happen to these programs? Will they change? These are all questions that we’re wondering at the moment.
What are your thoughts on the changes for YouTube monetization? Is your channel effected from the changes? Feel free to comment below!
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Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His new EP ‘Lines’ was released on November 2017 and his debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify. In addition to being a musician, he regularly teaches workshops and masterclasses internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, and for more information you can visit his website www.alpertuzcu.com