If You Don’t Agree to YouTube’s New Ad-Free Terms, Your Videos Will Disappear…

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YouTube’s ad-free subscription service is finally arriving.  YouTube Music Key already exists for ad-free music, but the new service will remove ads from all videos.

It’s about time. I’ve had multiple people tell me over the years that they wish they could pay to remove YouTube ads.

Exact details on the new service aren’t available yet, but information is starting to surface.

So what does this mean for content creators?

Sources to The Verge say that creators will be able to put their music behind a paywall, something that should make Taylor Swift happy.  They also say YouTube will take 45 percent of revenue, and creators will take 55 percent.

All revenue will be put together and then it will be split between creators based on time watched per channel. Expect even more mysterious payouts, as there won’t be a set rate.

Sources also say creators must accept YouTube’s new terms, or their videos will be made ‘private’.

Remember what happened last time YouTube did this?

Here’s a letter YouTube just sent to creators about the upcoming changes:

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31 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    “creators will be able to put their music behind a paywall, something that should make Taylor Swift happy”

    Doesn’t apply to music tho.

  2. Chris H

    Everyone who has ever told you that over the years was wrong. Now, I guess you will get to see that play out. Paywalls and millenials do not mix, it’s been proven time and time again.

    I’m sure the 3 cents google will pay out will be worth it too..

  3. steveh

    Youtube/Google is “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. All its actions and pronouncements are beyond opaque, the total opposite of any kind of transparency. All we can hope for is that eventually it’s insanely overcomplex “business model” will be its undoing.

    • Anonymous

      I think this is Google’s first real (as in expensive) mistake ever.

      It’s the perfect opportunity for upcoming services like RepX and Videscape.

      Did you see this in The Verge (link in the article)?

      “The subscription offers big channels a new way to make money. While YouTube will still take roughly 45 percent of all advertising revenue generated by the channel, they’re also offering partners a cut of the subscription money. Subscription revenues will be pooled, with partners receiving 55 percent of the total. Individual partners’ cuts will be apportioned based on how much time their viewers spend watching their channels, though, so even medium-sized channels may not earn meaningful revenue from the subscription.

  4. Anonymous

    @Sarah/RepX, I would listen very carefully now if I were you. Reactions from consumers and content providers could be the most important learning experience ever.

    Like Chris H said above, Millennials and paywalls just don’t mix. Gen Z and paywalls even less. What we’re witnessing here is just Mr. Schmidt getting old.

    I know that your proposed model differs from this, and it’s great to hear that you’re considering ads as well, but the very word PAY can ruin any service today, no matter how you use it: It’s a road block, a red flag, a car crash waiting to happen.

    • Sarah

      Thanks for the advice. I listen very carefully to both creators and consumers – that’s why I’m here (well, to listen to creators; I go other places to listen to consumers).

      The tricky thing is that people have different needs and desires (e.g., creators: more money when people consume their work; consumers: free), and in this space they are often conflicting. And while individuals know best what they want, that doesn’t mean they know the best way to get it.

      RepX is really about creating a system where people can (for the most part) get what they want, in the way they want.

      Also, “pay” isn’t as bad as you think it is. But we’ll split test different messages (including some that don’t use the P-word). And we aren’t just considering ads anymore – they’ve become an integral part of our strategy, largely because I spend a lot of time seriously listening to people (like you).

      When are you going to let me give you a demo? 😛

      • Anonymous

        “But we’ll split test different messages”

        Good — then you’ll see what I mean. 🙂

        “we aren’t just considering ads anymore – they’ve become an integral part of our strategy”

        Then I think you may want to update your site…

        “When are you going to let me give you a demo?”

        When do you have a fully functional service? 😉

        I know it’s a chicken/egg situation but experiments are expensive: Little things, like the number of YouTube views, are important to musicians. And you don’t get as many YouTube clicks when your video is available on another site. So it’s not that easy to figure out when it makes sense to move what amount of content to which service.

        But one thing is certain: YouTube is changing, probably around the end of the year, and it’s necessary to find another solution.

        • Sarah

          I didn’t ask you to move your stuff over, silly – I know that your views are important. I wouldn’t jeopardize mine for an unproven service, which means I wouldn’t expect you to. 🙂

          I just want to give you a quick demo so you can appreciate what we’re talking about. It’s genuinely different to anything you’ve seen before, and seeing it in action is the best way to evaluate it.

          p.s. Yes, the marketing site will be updated well before we launch to consumers, but there are more important things to spend resources on right now.

          • Anonymous

            “I didn’t ask you to move your stuff over, silly”

            Ah OK… I’ll think about it. 🙂

            “there are more important things to spend resources on right now”

            But of course, just keep in mind that your marketing site is all we really know about RepX.

          • Sarah

            The way we’re handling ads is patentable stuff. Have to take care of that before we broadcast what it is, you know?

            We’ll get back to adjusting the website as soon as that’s done – probably next week.

          • Sarah

            I have questions for you – any and all answers would be awesomely helpful 🙂

            1. You mentioned that virality is the most important thing right now…. why? Is it because virality can somehow lead to more money (whether through actual ad revenue from views or just in getting attention from consumers who might later spend money somehow, such as merchandise or show tickets)? Or is virality important for other reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with income – so that even if there were no way to make any money off a viral success, you’d still strongly want it?

            2. Do you interact with your audience at all? (such as live – at shows – or in comment sections, twitter, or selling experiences through sites like Band Page or Patreon)

            If not, why not?
            If yes, what would make your interactions better – whether “better” means more fulfilling for you personally, improved promotional results, or producing greater income?

          • Anonymous

            That’s a lot of (super interesting) questions. I’ll think about them — and I hope a lot of other guys will, too — but why don’t we replace virality with fame?

            Is fame important?

            Does fame somehow lead to more money? Is it important for other reasons? Would people still want it if it came without the Porsche?

            If yes, why not? 🙂

          • Sarah

            The first question, as you pick up on, is much more important: why is fame/virality important?

            The fact that fame can lead to fortune causes some confusion over whether fame/virality is desired for its own sake, or because it’s often assumed that fame is a way to get the more important goal of fortune.

            It’s important to nail down the priorities – though there’s obviously some significant overlap, the methods you’d implement to achieve fame can be very different from those you’d use to generate high income.

          • Anonymous

            “why is fame/virality important?”

            But how can even you ask?

            People don’t write songs for bank vaults. Nothing is more important than the audience. And bigger is always better.

            Virality [fame/word-of-mouth/gossip/Chinese whispers/rumors/direct-links/shareability] is the beginning and the end — the beginning because artists are insecure maniacs equipped with king-size egos, and the end because P.T Barnum’s famous maxim is more true today than ever before: Every crowd has a silver lining.

            I hear what you’re saying, really, but people are launching paid streaming services every day (literally).

            How many services do you think the average user is willing to pay for?



            And exactly why would s/he want to pay RepX instead of Beats, Spotify, Tidal, Music Key, Netflix?

            Again, keep in mind that s/he can get everything you’re selling on YouTube for free, and s/he doesn’t even have to stop at the door and remember another f***ing password.

            The only way to enter your dream market in any meaningful way today is to offer a complete package, including high quality music, internet, phone, news, movies and a Twitter-sized social network. That would allow for virality within the paywall.

            People would pay for that. Not in addition to the all other services, but instead of (at least) one of them. So somebody’s going to build it, and probably sooner rather than later, but I don’t think that’s what you have in mind.

            And anything less would just be a fame-blocker:

            Useless for artists, annoying for fans and a new failure for the music industry.

          • Sarah

            So somebody’s going to build it, and probably sooner rather than later, but I don’t think that’s what you have in mind.

            Well, actually…. you’re wrong. I’m a very “big picture” kind of person. I’ve already invited you to contact me for a demo so I can show you how big that picture is. 😛

            The only hard part really is getting it off the ground – and every service has that problem, even the ones that are huge now. FB initially grew by targeting very small markets (universities) one by one; YouTube had enormous trouble getting users at first – they even tried paying people to put up videos.

            It’s not just a resource problem either; look at the relatively small, new companies that have reasonably strong resources (Videscape, industry connections; Vessel, industry connections & $75 million; Tidal, millions plus “star power” & industry connections) but are having serious difficulty gaining ground in the market.

          • Anonymous

            “how big that picture is”

            🙂 Well, well, what do you know…

            This free, ad-financed artist-owned YouTube alternative I’ve been fantasizing about? That’s not my number one wish.

            I’d much prefer that all-in full-throttle smorgasbord @ $19.99/month.

            So I really don’t know what to say now, haha.

          • Sarah

            LOL. I think our system is one that a lot of people are going to love – consumers AND creators.

            But when you want to do something very big, it’s usually best to start somewhere small and targeted, as we’ve learned from many successful (and unsuccessful) companies.

            I’m delighted to find out that we’re probably giving you your number one wish even though we’re not just a YouTube alternative. And I’m not surprised to learn that you also see a much bigger vision in this space. 🙂

          • Anonymous

            OK, so it’s a simple matter of logicstics now:

            How do you get from a to b — where a is ground and b is

            “off the ground” 🙂

            I can’t help thinking that the social media part, and how it integrates with the rest of the package, perhaps might be a less crowded runway. A site like Ello got a lot of cheap attention early on just from claiming to be a Facebook challenger.

            The content path may be a bit more tricky because everybody’s spamming content providers already. But being a good talent scout and finding new talent and good stories most people can’t see yet goes a long way.

            Then there’s storytelling. I think you’ll be really great at that.

            Later on, exclusive productions. House of Cards did wonders for Netflix. And it doesn’t have to be on that level at all. Anything will do.

          • Sarah

            We’re thinking along the same lines, especially about the social.

            But it can’t just be a FB challenger – Ello got a lot of press because they claimed to be that, but Ello also failed because they didn’t have enough to back up that press and get people to switch. Startups often chase popularity with press/investors, instead of paying attention to what’s going to get lasting engagement from real, normal people (look at Tidal).

            That go-to-market strategy is critical and, as companies from Ello to Vessel have proven, having resources is NOT a replacement for a solid strategy …. which is why, as much as I’d love to talk to you about our strategy, I can’t get into details on a public comment section 😛

  5. JTVDigital

    Legally speaking there is nothing wrong in changing terms of service.
    Terms of service from any business can be amended at anytime (as long as it does not conflict with any local or international regulations).
    There are no “mysterious” payouts, anybody who read the terms in their “Creator Studio” could clearly see the splits, everything was detailed.
    And nobody is forced to use YouTube, as far as I’m aware…

    • Anonymous

      I’d take a look at upcoming YouTube alternatives such as RepX and Videscape if I were you…

  6. Hasta

    These days, on the internet, any one that gets between the business owner and the payout from the shopping cart will rip you blind, and send you a nice letter detailing how you’re getting 5 cents.

    Youtube is supposed to be promotion, not payout. If they make providers give away any rights just for promotion, i just understand how that can work.

  7. David Lowery

    “Millenials won’t pay”. That’s right they only use free ad supported mobile phone plans, ad supported data plans and free ad supported broadband connections.

    Okay you flat earthers, get the point? Let’s frame the conversation correctly.

    • Anonymous

      You’re right, Millennials are willing to pay. For stuff they can’t steal without consequences.

        • Anonymous

          But true…

          Which reminds me of that infograph you stole from Topple Track (see the comment section of your ‘Judge rules’-story).

        • David Lowery

          Hope you don’t mean me. Cause what’s so rude about correcting an obvious mistatement of facts? The “free” argument is a house of cards. The sooner we acknowledge the fact that you pay for content one way or another, directly or indirectly, the sooner we find real solutions.

  8. Anonymous

    In the letter I got from Youtube none of these things were mentioned. There’s been no official word from Youtube on how they plan to calculate what users are paid or anything like that. This is what’s wrong with Internet journalism. Anybody can make up anything citing “sources” and every other media outlet spreads it because it’ll generate clicks to their website. I have Youtube Music key and using it, it seems like everything will stay the same for the most part. Users that don’t want ads can pay to have the ads removed, they get offline access to the videos, and a few other things, everybody else gets to use Youtube like they normally did.

    What’s talked about in this article would be counterproductive for Youtube. The less videos, the less viewers, the less ad revenue. Hiding videos or making them private doesn’t make sense, it’s counterproductive. Allowing users to put content behind a paywall is a feature that’s been there for sometime now. Nat Geo Kids charges $4 a month for access to their Youtube videos. You need to have like 10,000 subscribers in order to charge for subscriptions. It’s not often anyone does that.

    Youtube is pretty transparent. Youtube analytics tells you everything you need to know: How many views, how much was earned per view, how much you made out of how much was earned, it’s all there.

  9. Logan

    The service is probably great, for people who have money. I have PTSD, and no income. My therapist wants me to use music/sound therapy to help with my constant night terrors. I can’t exactly do that through youtube, anymore. The new advertisement policy took place while I was sleeping with a Sonicaid playlist on. I had a massive panic attack when a LOUD advertizement played unexpectedly. I don’t have the resources to spend money online, so now I have to figure out a new music source that doesn’t randomly snap me into full blown panic attacks.

    My autistic room mate wanted me to add that he can’t listen to any of his playlists now without his sensory issues being triggered. I don’t particularly want to hear the crash of a 250 pound man tossing his desk across the room, just saying. For some of us, this change is a deal breaker.