17 Critical Facts About YouTube Red and YouTube Music

YouTube Red

On Wednesday, YouTube finally announced the details around YouTube Red, its first big stab into a premium, ad-free tier.  Here’s everything we know so far, from both a creator and consumer standpoint.

1. Forget the name ‘YouTube Music Key’

It’s now just called ‘YouTube Music,’ and it’s part of ‘YouTube Red’.  In terms of timetable, YouTube would only say that Music was coming “soon” and “later this year,” with other countries outside the US coming 2016.  YouTube Music will be a big, big part of YouTube’s premium expansion.

2. ‘YouTube Red’ is the broader premium service that starts October 28th as an ad-free iteration.

In less than week, YouTube users will be able to pay $9.99 a month for ad-free access, along with other features like offline mobile access.  That covers different platforms, with one catch…

3. ‘YouTube Red’ will cost $12.99 for iOS users.

This was confirmed by YouTube, based on a decision  not to absorb Apple’s $3-per-month surcharge for App Store subscriptions.  There’s early talk of a simple workaround, similar to Spotify, though at this stage it’s unclear whether Apple will enforce its cut.

4. YouTube Red subscriptions also cover mainline YouTube, YouTube Gaming, and YouTube Kids.

And of course, YouTube Music.  And, maybe some more (see #10).

5. Creators can’t really opt-out of YouTube Red.

Anyone who doesn’t participate in ‘YouTube Red,’ ‘YouTube Music,’ or any other iteration will have their channels and videos set to ‘private’.  Basically, if you don’t sign the contract, you’re dead to YouTube (and your fans on YouTube).

6. Yes, there’s a big porn site called ‘RedTube’

That’s definitely going to complicate things for the all-important, 15-year-old male demographic.

7. The YouTube Music app will be similar to YouTube’s mainline app.

YouTube is still unveiling aspects of the app, but this isn’t a radical departure.  It will have a three-tab structure, with a toggle that allows people to move from video to music-only mode.  Perhaps the coolest part will be instant playlisting based on thumbs-upping and favoriting, as well as smart recommendations based on ‘learned’ musical preferences.

8. YouTube Music will offer offline music access.

This could be the coolest feature, especially since its always been missing from YouTube.  No word yet on exactly how many songs and playlists can be cached.

9. YouTube Music will have artist pages of some sort.

YouTube was vague on this during its Wednesday announcement, though so far, YouTube Music ‘artist pages’ look like mere collections of artist videos (which sounds sort of like an expansion of artist playlists currently on YouTube).

10. YouTube Red will initially feature ad-free content, but special, premium content is next.

Eventually, YouTube is aiming to feature premium content for premium-paying subscribers, but for now, the focus is on ad-free content.

11. ‘YouTube Originals’ are already happening.

A big part of the premium-only tier will be YouTube Originals, which will heavily feature top, YouTube-bred stars in original productions.  Some portion of those productions will only be available to paying subscribers.  A big player in that expansion will be PewDiePie, among other YouTube natives.

12. It looks like YouTube Red and YouTube Music accounts will also include Google Play Music All Access.

This certainly makes sense, given the huge overlap. According to early information revealed by YouTube executives, Google Play Music All Access will be included in YouTube Red premium account costs.  But Google is a big, dysfunctional place, so let’s see what happens once YouTube Red and YouTube Music are live.

13. YouTube says it will pay a “majority” of Red revenues back to content creators.

Beyond that, we’re not sure of exact payout terms here (chime in if you know more).  So, let’s see.

14. YouTube Red will pay creators based on actual views.

That sounds logical, and addresses a huge complaint against streaming services like Spotify.  But it’s unclear whether that translates cleanly into YouTube Music.

15. Major content owners are also part of YouTube Red.

Mega-media companies like 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal and Time Warner are part of Red, and currently part of the ad-supported mainline YouTube service.  According to the New York Times, those partners will receive 55 percent of the revenue from premium subscriptions.

16. YouTube has also reportedly threatened to eliminate content from major media companies that refuse to participate in Red.

That’s also according to the New York Times.  “The executives said YouTube had implied that if they didn’t provide content for subscribers, there was a chance their ad-supported content would not be available on YouTube in the United States,” the Times reported.


17. YouTube Red will have a free, one-month trial window.

It’s unclear if users will be asked to submit their credit cards upfront, like Apple Music (and subsequently face automatic charges if they forget to cancel in time).

65 Responses

    • "Majority" = 55% or Less

      The contracts pay out a max of 55% of “recognized youtube revenue” to rights holders and as little as 5% under different categories. What lying bullies…

  1. None EXIT

    Is their a family plan for $9.99? Or more the one per Gmail account? Please let us know.
    Sharing in an Opensource is the way of life in this internet world and we welcome Google for this..

  2. Anonymous

    “YouTube Music will have artist pages of some sort”

    That’s the only positive thing I’ve heard so far.

    The backside is the very idea of cutting YouTube into pieces. Remember that ‘Music’-button YouTube launched (next to the ‘Home’-button) when they presented YouTube Music Key?

    That’s gone now.

    Because people want music to be an integrated part of YouTube.

  3. Anonymous

    I just had a chat with a YouTube representative and asked if I were allowed to make exclusive iTunes releases if I uploaded some of my music to YouTube Red?

    He gave me a handful of useless links. I told him they weren’t relevant. He said he ‘totally understood’ my problem. I said goodbye.

  4. Anonymous

    Let’s see, what do I want?

    1) Pay $13/month to get rid of ads, or…
    2) Install an AD-BLOCKER?

    Oh wait, I already got the ad-blocker.

  5. Anonymous

    According to New York Times today, “eMarketer predicts YouTube will generate $9.5 billion in ad revenue for Google this year.”

    YouTube claims to pay 55% to content owners.

    So could anyone please explain why YouTube paid less than $1.5bn — not per year, but in total — to content providers since 2005?

    • Remi Swierczek

      …and this $9.5 billion WILL NOT cover the cost of:

      b/ SERVERS

      • Anonymous

        “Where’s that $1.5 bln number coming from? source?”

        “YouTube has confirmed a big milestone to Billboard: $1 billion in payouts from its ContentID copyright earmarking system since its launch seven years ago.”
        SOURCE: Billboard, October 14, 2014

        I’ll post the link in a separate comment below. I believe the latest figure is something like $1.2bn, total…

        • Ryan

          The key to that statement is “from its ContentID copyright earmarking system”. That ContentID system only pays copyright holders for content that was uploaded without their consent, that $1.5bn payout is not everything that Youtube has paid out, only what it has paid out as a result of someone infringing someone else’s copyright.

          From the same article: YouTube’s Content ID is used by companies to monetize videos generally uploaded without their consent, and not videos uploaded by rightsholders.

    • Anonymous

      That $1.5bln is to the music industry. It does not include payouts on kitten videos.

      • Anonymous

        “That $1.5bln is to the music industry”

        No no, it’s the total amount of payouts.

  6. Musicservices4less

    1. Google/YouTube knows and has known probably from inception of the Safe Harbor Provision of the Copyright Act that it doesn’t qualify for it and therefore is not entitled to use it as a defense in a copyright infringement action.
    2. Pressure is mounting both political and business against Google/YouTube’s reliance on that prevision.
    3. As one part of its political strategy to defuse and deflect this pressure, is to make an attempt at paying copyright owners something based on the now known failed business plan of advertising placed on videos.
    4. Does not address the uploading by consumers of unauthorized music and videos so the major part of the problem still remains.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly! A very slick move by the slickest of the tech slicksters. It’s like their old “content-id” move ( broken-by-design) used to side-track & nullify the Viacom lawsuit.

  7. Kelly

    I for one am looking forward to this service! I work out daily with Youtube videos and I’m so tired of the ads, but I still want to support the product creators! I’ve also been watching a lot of late night and comedy shows on YouTube lately. This is perfect! I’m signing up as soon as it’s available!

    • Anonymous

      “According to this FAQ, you can still upload videos to YouTube, you just can’t be in the Partner program or earn money”

      Who cares if you can upload your videos? Nobody can watch them, if you don’t sign the contract. And I can’t imagine why anyone would do that.

      From your link:

      “Partners who need more time to review and accept these terms will have their videos made unavailable for public display.”

      • Kristi

        “Partners” is the important word. If you never sign up for the Partner program, you’re just a creator, not a partner. You’re just like the kid who uploads a song he just wrote in his bedroom. As a creator but not a partner, you can’t earn money from your videos, but everyone can still see them. At least, that’s what the current YouTube FAQ says.

  8. Kristi

    To be accurate, where it says “anyone” in #5, shouldn’t that say “any YouTube Partner”? According to this FAQ, you can still upload videos to YouTube, you just can’t be in the Partner program or earn money (and, of course, you can’t get paid if someone else uses your music).

      • Anonymous

        What Kristi says actually seems to apply to both Taylor Swift and her grandma (and anybody else):

        As long as they’re not partners, they are allowed to work for YouTube without being paid.

  9. There is something...

    The problem I have with Google is that they need to make everything so complicated…

    I never quite understood how Google+ was supposed to work. And now we have Youtube, Youtube Red, Youtube Music (the dropped the “Key” part ?), Google Play All Access and what will be next ?

    Say what you want about Apple Music app navigation, but at least they have everything in one place. You don’t need to jump between apps or services. That Youtube stuff could be interesting if they managed to have all the music and video service in one place. Add your own library cloud streaming and in fact, that could be huge…

    • Anonymous

      “And now we have Youtube, Youtube Red, Youtube Music”

      You forgot YouTube Originals — Google’s new and incredibly lame comedy production company.

    • Paul Resnikoff
      Paul Resnikoff

      It’s a problem. Google has so many unsupported, abandoned and disparate products that people just tune out. Google Plus is just one example, though Google’s hits are hits: Gmail, Search, YouTube, etc.

      But I don’t even know what the actual name of ‘Google Play All Access’ is. Isn’t it “Google Play Music All Access’. Then I search it – on Google – and ‘Google Play Music’ comes up. Kind of proves the point.

  10. Steven Cravis

    I would think the artist name hashtags, or ‘auto-generated’ pages are and will continue to be the artist pages. Like if you search youtube for the channel called #stevencravis for example. I’m just guessing.

  11. Ad free

    I actually would have paid 2.99$ a month get ad free YouTube ads. But I don’t want or need these extra stuff.

  12. Sugi

    The YouTube will be paying 55% to the content creators out of YouTube Red. Significant increase for the creators, also great part about is that u would only need 0,005% subscribe to the system and it would be very profitable

  13. How the internet solved the YouTube Red problem...

    I actually saw a dude on Gizmodo who thought it was nice to skip the ads, haha. Must have been hired by YouTube. Here are a few replies:

    10/22/15 2:44pm

    Google chrome ad-block. I got it 7 years ago, and quite frankly I forgot youtube had ads until your comment reminded me.

    10/22/15 2:50pm

    AdBlock and forget about ads …

    10/22/15 2:51pm

    Exactly. I only remember it when I watch videos on my phone. Ads on the internet are a non-issue for me. I don’t need to pay money to avoid them.

    10/22/15 4:52pm

    I absolutely love Ad Blocker Plus. Its the best thing since sliced bagels

    10/22/15 4:54pm

    Honestly, that thing (AdBlock) is amazing. So amazing I actually threw the creators $20 or some piddling amount during one of their infrequent pledge drives.

    You’ve covered YouTube. You can watch illegal streams that are otherwise blocked by those “just fill out this survey and give us your email” loops. It strips out mid-reel ads if you watch on NBC.com or equivalent sites. It basically turns the stream into a DVR recording that’s already stripped the ads out.

    But it also strips out ad skins from homepages, kills popups, etc. Only DraftKings seems immune to its powers.

    10/22/15 4:55pm

    adblock or ublock. Done

    10/22/15 4:59pm

    But nothing is stopping these people from using AdBlock.

    And if removing ads from the model is a good thing, then AdBlock and similar technologies should be embraced.

    It could certainly hurt the content creators in the short term, but progress usually comes at an unfortunate cost. I’m not even sure it hurts the creators, though, at least not the good ones.

    VoR1993Tidal Town
    10/22/15 5:31pm

    Dead serious. I use AdBlock so I’m unaware of the number/type of ads on YouTube channels.

    And I don’t really watch any original content, just follow links there when it’s a particularly cool (GoPro dropped into a snake pit) or funny (Tima, the Russian bear) video. Other than that, it’s just for clips of older shows or for music.

    As for the story I read re crossover YouTube stars surrounded something called Smosh. I can’t believe people would sit through ads or otherwise pay to watch that drivel. In fact, I remember thinking “this is dumb, but at least it’s free.”

    10/22/15 5:51pm

    lol @ ads. get adblock

    10/22/15 7:32pm

    Oh my god. That moment where everything clicks. My fiance always has so many ads when watching youtube and I always comment on it. “Why do you get so may ads when I get none?”

    I’ve used adblock for so long I never even considered that it blocked youtube ads. I feel like I’ve been looking for my glasses only to realize I am already wearing them or something. Hahhahaha!

    Robert A PetersenKeoki
    10/22/15 7:41pm

    You don’t see a conflict of interest when an ad company buys a video platform, loads it with ads, and then asks you to pay for the ads to go away?

    I mean, sounds like a Mafia-esque racket for Google. That said, there’s no way I’m personally paying for what amounts to AdBlock + a YouTube Downloader.

    10/22/15 9:14pm

    Advertising has always, since its inception been an “opt-in” option for consumers.
    An ad comes on TV? Change the channel/put it on mute/leave the room.
    An ad comes on the radio? Change the channel/put it on mute
    An ad in the magazine? don’t look at the page/turn it.

    But somehow, people got it in their heads that an Ad on the internet must not be avoided. That the consumer has an OBLIGATION to allow them, that they must be exposed to them. This is simply absurd and NOT the case.

    Ad block is just another way for us to choose to opt out of being exposed to unwanted advertising, just like we always have since the very beginning.

    Paul HAnti-Star Super-Christ
    10/22/15 10:00pm

    Adblocking is pretty easy on android.
    – It’s not that hard to plug a computer into your TV. Smart TVs are kind of a gimmick anyways.

    And here’s my favorite:
    10/22/15 11:43pm

    Youtube has ads?


    • Anonymous

      Apple knew this was coming, that’s why they allowed ad-blockers in iOS 9…

  14. Anonymous

    Re: #14, it’s my understanding that money is paid out via market share, not a set rate on a per stream basis. Who told you otherwise?

  15. Anonymous

    Ad-blocking. How to ad-blockers make money? Repeat after me: “If it’s Free, YOU are the product”

    Free ad-blocking has two main sources:
    1/ Tracking, collating & selling your personal data
    2/ Google, Amazon, and Microsoft & others pay Ad blockers to “whitelist” i.e stop blocking certain ads

    • Anonymous

      “Free ad-blocking has two main sources:
      1/ Tracking, collating & selling your personal data”

      Not sure what you mean by ‘sources’, but Adblock Plus can track me all it wants to, can’t be any worse than Facebook.

      “Google, Amazon, and Microsoft & others pay Ad blockers to “whitelist” i.e stop blocking certain ads”
      Well, that’s just nonsense — I’ve used adblockers for as long as I remember, and I never see any ads anywhere.

  16. Rob

    I’m not sure how much “majority of revenue” is. But in the last year I’ve seen my subscribers double to 20,000 and my monthly revenue halve. Whether this is due to adblocker, I don’t know. Or it might be a combination of both, who knows?

    My content used to pay for itself with ad revenue from YouTube but now I’ve had to launch a Patreon account and ask people for money, which I hate doing. If this continues, I won’t be able to afford to make new content because I’ve gotten a mortgage since I started on Youtube three years ago.

    My content is based around my hobby. I love my hobby a lot and not being able to do it will sadden me greatly.


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