Only content creators on YouTube’s Partner Program can now link to external sites, like Patreon.
In 2013, Jack Conte, a struggling musician on YouTube, founded Patreon.
He wanted to create a platform where other musicians could post their content and find backers willing to support them.
Four years later, the service has one million monthly active patrons. It also has fifty thousand monthly active creators. Conte estimates that content creators will earn $150 million on the crowdfunding platform in 2017.
In addition, the service recently announced $60 million in an additional round of financing.
Now, to link to Patreon from YouTube, you’ll have to forcibly join their Partner Program. You’ll also need to have more than 10,000 views on your channel.
YouTube’s quiet forced push causes an uproar
YouTube has confirmed that in order for content creators to add external links to their videos, they must join the company’s Partner Program. Once creators do so, they can then link fans and followers to external sites, like Patreon and Amazon.
The move immediately infuriated and confused YouTubers. Some (if not most) depend on external links to earn money. They link to websites featuring merchandise that fans can purchase, or crowdfunding platforms like Patreon.
YouTuber Ian Danskin of Innuendo Studios was among the first who spotted the change. Danskin told The Next Web,
“It’s also not clear yet whether or not just have to have ads enabled on your channel, or if a video will lose its links should it be demonetized, either through a copyright claim or YouTube deeming it “ad-unfriendly.”
He also posted an image on Twitter confirming YouTube’s sudden policy change.
Other users immediately believed that the video platform specifically made the change to block links to Patreon campaigns.
The uproar on social media forced YouTube to issue a statement.
The company denied that it targeted Patreon campaigns. Rather, they explained that the platform made the change to curb abuse.
“In order to use externally-linking end cards in videos, creators are being asked to join the YouTube Partner program, so that we can evaluate the validity of the channel, as well as determine whether the channel is following our community guidelines and advertiser policies. This update is meant to curb abuse and does not affect current YouTube partners or existing end cards. Additionally channels do not have to actually monetize any videos as part of this requirement.”
But why the uproar?
Here’s the thing. Artists and other content creators on the popular video platform have long complained about poor payouts.
In fact, a recent study published by the IFPI found that a “value gap” exists on the platform. YouTube makes more money than it actually pays out to content creators as well as the music industry.
YouTube’s Global Head of Music, Lyor Cohen, has consistently dismissed the “value gap” as a myth.
Yet, despite his statements, research has shown that YouTube pays only a dismal $0.0006 to $0.0007 per view. The team at Information is Beautiful found that for a YouTuber to earn $1,472, they’ll need 2.4 million views.
Why not just join YouTube’s Partner Program, then?
The change forces content creators to forcibly accept the platform’s Partner Program if they want to survive.
In addition, the move coincides with another policy change earlier this year.
YouTube announced that in order for users to become a part of their Partner Program, they’ll need to have 10,000+ views.
Ian Danskin summed up YouTube’s recent policy changes, including their forced Partner Program system.
Patreon’s CEO Jack Conte also lambasted the move. He called the move hurtful for any creator on the popular video platform.
It remains unclear what changes YouTube will surprise content creators with next. But it has made one thing clear: if you’re a small-time artist or content creator, and you don’t have enough followers on the platform, don’t expect to make any money at all. Or at least, not enough to survive in the long run.
Time to start pumping out those videos to earn 10,000 views. Either that, or it’s time to look elsewhere.