According to YouTube and Susan Wojcicki, the European Union – not its own pitiful payouts – is to blame for creators’ low wages.
So, as a musician, how much should you expect to make on YouTube?
According to our ongoing streaming payouts chart, the Google-owned video platform pays around $0.00074 per stream.
According to the IFPI, despite now having over 1.8 billion global monthly visitors on its video platform, YouTube pays the music industry under $1 per user.
Content creators have it even worse.
Earlier this year, a German professor found only a few creators will ever make enough from their YouTube videos to break the poverty line in the US. 96.5% of all content creators won’t ever make enough to pay their monthly rent. Only 3.5% of the top channels on the video platform make over $12,140 a year.
The Google-owned video platform pays out as low as 35 cents per 1,000 views. It earns millions each year from top advertisers.
So, what has YouTube done to alleviate this problem?
Well, it’s obfuscated its existing monetization rules to ‘protect’ advertisers. Content creators now need a minimum of 4,000 hours of total watch time or at least 1,000 subscribers to start earning money from advertising. Thinking of making money on YouTube? Tough luck.
YouTube has also unveiled out-of-touch monetization features for existing content creators.
Copying Patreon and Twitch, Channel Memberships will allow viewers to subscribe to channels for $4.99 a month. YouTube keeps a hefty 30%, and only creators with over 100,000 subscribers qualify. Its Merchandise feature lets creators with over 10,000 subscribers sell merchandise through a single YouTube partner, Teespring. The video platform takes a hefty cut from merchandise sold.
So, who can meet this exaggerated milestone? Only the top 3.5% of channels.
In short, YouTube’s done nothing to help out its own content creator community.
Now, in an attempt to avoid paying out fair royalties on copyrighted works, the platform, led by CEO Susan Wojcicki, has engaged in a new fear tactic to scare creators into protesting a new reform.
Scaring its clearly neglected community into protesting against Article 13.
Last month, the European Union approved a controversial bill – the Copyright Directive.
The bill includes measures that would ensure user-uploaded platforms (i.e., YouTube) would pay copyright owners their fair share.
Google has long skirted paying out copyright owners fairly using safe harbor loopholes. To ensure the bill’s defeat, the search giant has paid lawmakers over $36 million through various lobbying companies.
Now, with the bill’s imminent approval, YouTube has engaged in scaremongering.
In a blog post published earlier today, Wojcicki has urged the platform’s content creator community to “take action immediately.”
“This legislation poses a threat to both your livelihood and your ability to share your voice with the world.”
According to her, YouTube has a “growing creative economy” now at risk. Exaggerating the fear of the Copyright Directive, Wojcicki claims the European Union would “shut down the ability… to upload content.”
Of course, she clearly ignores the platform’s horrendously low payouts to existing creators. Wojcicki also cleverly omits providing any evidence to support her ridiculous argument against the Copyright Directive – namely Article 13.
“[Article 13] threatens to block users in the EU from viewing content that is already live on the channels of creators everywhere. This includes YouTube’s incredible video library of educational content, such as language classes, physics tutorials and other how-to’s.”
According to her, YouTube’s own (flawed) Content ID already does enough to protect content owners.
“We realize the importance of all rights holders being fairly compensated, which is why we built Content ID and a platform to pay out all types of content owners.”
Furthering her argument once more without providing evidence, Article 13 “threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs.” Threatening its own community, Wojcicki claims YouTube would only allow “content from a small number of large companies.” Keep in mind the video platform would never prevent content creators – its core community – from uploading new content without alienating and losing its 1.8 billion+ users, in addition to losing millions of dollars in ads each year.
The note ends with a call to creators to “#SaveYourInternet” and “take action immediately.”
But, how about paying your own content creators and copyright owners what’s fair first, Wojcicki?
Featured image by Recode (YouTube screengrab).