YouTube Is Blocking Patreon Links for Thousands of Creators

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.

14 Responses

  1. Buckley

    I mean, what’s the supposed payout from YouTube? $0.0006? So, 10,000 views would get you $6, which means even if you were a member, you wouldn’t get paid anyway (you need to earn $50 before they’ll pay out). So, I mean… if your entire channel doesn’t even have 10,000 views? How much money did you think you were going to earn?

    • Anonymous

      You don’t understand the problem at all — and neither does DMN.

      The issue is not the 10k views.

      The issue is that you have to be a YouTube partner!

      And if you need Patreon because YouTube demonetized your channel, then you’re not eligble to become a YouTube Partner either.

      So this is YouTube punishing the huge amount of YouTubers that are demonetized for being gay or otherwise unwanted.

      They don’t have any ways left to make money on the platform — and it doesn’t make any difference if they have 10 or 10,000,000 subs.

      Their only hope is a YouTube alternative.

      • Anonymous

        …and here’s the short version:

        YouTube is pissed because demonetized accounts figured out to use Patreon instead.

        So they declared war on their users and closed the Patreon loop-hole.

      • Buckley

        You have to have 10k views to become a partner to use the cards. That’s all. You can still set up Patreon, link to it in the description, mention it in your video, show a link to it… you just can’t have a direct link on the video. Yeah, it’s stupid, but I think there’s a real disconnect of reality here for a lot of people who think YouTube should be a way to make a living for someone with no views. If you have 10 subscribers… you’re just not going to earn money, plain and simple. Even if all 10 of them bought a CD from you (and they won’t), or gave you a dollar a month for Patreon or whatever… it’s nothing. Sincerely: a guy who doesn’t monetize, has nearly 600k subscribers, alternative ways of earning money, and is not earning anything even remotely close to a living doing it.

        • Anonymous

          “You have to have 10k views to become a partner to use the cards. That’s all. “

          No, that’s certainly not all!

          Please read my post above.

      • Paul Resnikoff

        Right. The YouTube Partner program is decided by YouTube, and no one else.

        • Anonymous

          “The YouTube Partner program is decided by YouTube, and no one else”

          For now!

          You make your own rules here, more or less, but it could easily be argued that YouTube is so huge now that it’s not only a monopoly but a utility.

          A few years back, Zuckerberg actually did describe Facebook as a utility.

          Once… 🙂

      • Dlion

        I believe the videos being uploaded in the platform are screened for content that pose a treat to the Jewish image and things they want to keep a secrete.
        Or don’t want the viewers to be influenced by information that may not have any thing to do with the control freaks of this society.

  2. Hit Spins

    You can still post links in the description field to iTunes/Apple Music etc..

    All is not lost…

    • Anonymous

      For now. And the vast majority only see the first link in the description field. So you have a choice now: iTunes, merc or Patreon.

      What’s it gonna be?

  3. PiratesWinLOL

    there is simply something seriously wrong with that place. why would they prevent the creators of the content – which is why people visit the site – from making a bit of money? that way they will surely be motivated to create more content that people want and consequently they’ll visit youtube for that.

    something very strange and rotten is going on.

  4. Paul Resnikoff

    Another possibility is rolling your own direct donation channel. Patreon offers an exchange, and security as escrow and holding agent to both sides. But even Patreon could help to facilitate a more decentralized model, one ‘powered by Patreon’ instead of living directly on