As our use of the internet evolves, so does the internet’s relationship with its users. Facebook is constantly updating its interface. Twitter went public. Netflix stopped mailing things to and fro (actually they still do that, but you get the idea). It’s inevitable. Meanwhile, streaming services like Spotify and Pandora have established a paradigm for content creators: payment based on number of hits, with advertising the primary source of moola. Users can bypass these ads, of course, by paying a subscription, a portion of which is funneled to the content creators. This is basically the essence of YouTube Red: you can pay to avoid the ads.
“How much money are we talking about here?” Great question, glad you asked. A subscription to YouTube Red costs $9.99/month.
“How much of that do content creators get?” You’re on fire here with these questions, keep it up. On Youtube, creators get 55% of the revenue they create. That hasn’t changed since 2013, and won’t with YouTube Red.
“That seems like a lot!” you say, and I hear ya. We all know about how Spotify and Pandora barely pay anything to their content creators, and that’s true. Ultimately the musicians don’t get much at all. That’s the thing though–they’re musicians. They have teams of representatives to pay: labels, distributors, lawyers and bullshit. Always with “the man” trying to take them down. Youtubers, however, are free from all that. They’re mostly just some jabroni with a webcam. John Q Citizen decides to start a YouTube channel for profit and look, he already has a million followers! That’s good for him, and for his wallet. The exact number varies of course, but full-time YouTube content creators can make upwards of $100k/year. Holy shit!
So that brings us to YouTube Red. Despite heavy scrutiny and much deliberation, I think we can all agree on one thing: what a terrible name. Like, are you kidding me?! You and I can pretend to have never heard of Redtube, one of the most popular porn sites out there (or so I’ve heard), but YouTube obviously knows about it and is okay with the inevitable brand mixup. That’s weak, YouTube. Come on. Furthermore, it’s just a lazy name. “How about we just add a color on the end of our name? It worked for Uber Black!” Yeah, that’s because fancy cars are usually jet black. It’s already a thing, dummy. Red YouTube videos aren’t a thing–oh wait yes they are, they’re porn. Jeez Louize, think before you brand, YouTube.
LEST WE FORGET that YouTube is owned by Google, which already has a content streaming service called Google Play. With that in mind, don’t think about YouTube Red as comparable to Spotify or Pandora–that’s what Google Play is for. Think of Redtu–I mean YouTube Red as Hulu without the ads. Makes it seem like an improvment, right? There, that wasn’t so hard.
The big story here is that content creators are getting snubbed. But has it been as divisive as the internet outrage machine has portrayed it to be? Not really, no. Over 99% of content creators are on board. The user experience has also changed only marginally–the difference now is that we have the option to pay to remove those pesky ads. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Just stay the course, everybody. We’ll survive this all somehow.