Why YouTube’s channel-monetization changes won’t affect you… MUCH

Why musicians should use YouTube's Artist Hub
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You may have heard that YouTube will soon be tightening its Partner Program guidelines for monetizing videos. This news might’ve scared or frustrated you. I’m going to try to put those fears and frustrations to rest.

First, what’s changing about YouTube’s monetization rules?

As of February 20th, channels included in the Partner Program must have:

  • 1,000+ subscribers
  • 4,000+ hours of watch-time within the last 12 months

If you meet these requirements, nothing to worry about! If your channel doesn’t meet these new criteria you will no longer be allowed to directly monetize the videos you’ve uploaded to your channel.

Why is YouTube changing the rules?

In short, it’s to ensure the long-term viability of YouTube as an advertising platform.

If a Coke commercial gets queued to play before some weird video that has nothing to do with Coke’s target audience, just because the person who uploaded that video added the right keywords to game the system, well, Coke is throwing its money away.

And worse, if a Coke commercial plays before some video with hate speech, controversial content, or violence, their reputation takes a hit.

Neither of those scenarios are acceptable to advertisers; but that’s exactly what was happening last year. It understandably scared advertisers away and YouTube took a big financial hit.

Now YouTube is making corrections. These new channel-monetization guidelines are one part of their stricter quality-assurance strategy,  providing more protection for advertisers. When the advertisers are happy, YouTube is happy; when YouTube is happy, the better the chances that YouTube will remain a viable venue to share, promote, and monetize your music.

But didn’t they just make it HARDER for me to monetize my music?

Well, kinda. But if you have less than 4000 hours of watch-time over the last year for the videos you’ve uploaded directly to your channel, you’re really not losing out on much money to begin with. Smarter people can do the math, but it really amounts to about a nice dinner out… for one.

Instead of fretting over peanuts, it’s probably a more worthwhile use of your time to boost your video output and subscriber count.

If you use YouTube as it was intended (as a content channel with engaged subscribers, and not just a place to park your music and promo videos), you can follow the steps outlined in YouTube’s Creator Academy to reach those minimum requirements — and beyond. Then you’ll be able to collect those peanuts AND earn more than just peanuts because your audience is finally growing and energized on the platform.

CD Baby is still monetizing your music on YouTube via Content ID

Another reason you don’t need to worry about these changes (at least not as much as you might’ve thought): If you’re monetizing your music through CD Baby’s YouTube Monetization program, we’re still continuing to collect revenue for as much of your original content as possible via Content ID.

You still have time to reach YouTube’s minimum requirements before these changes are implemented

To some degree, YouTube payments aren’t passive income. It takes WORK to build an audience. It takes WORK to keep that audience. And regardless of your channels current numbers, every single channel on YouTube can benefit from a little extra focused attention.

One of our favorite (and free) ways to give your channel some extra care is with Show.co.

Show.co is a suite of tools that make it easy to create effective online marketing campaigns, and as a CD Baby client it’s free to use. You can quickly design and implement campaigns that will drive traffic to your channel, boost video views, and help you reach YouTube’s new Partner Program requirements.

To get started with Show.co, log into your CD Baby dashboard and click “Free Marketing Tools.”

See if you can reach those requirements by February 20th!

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