Youtube's pay TV service makes video-creators a deal they literally can't refuse

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The story about the japanese video game clips being pulled on US YouTube has to do with music labels refusing to sign on to the deal. Many japanese and korean music labels (mostly small indie labels) have not signed on and it’s affected all of the videos that have been monetized by those music labels have on there.

For example. American vocaloid producer Crusher-P had several of their songs published in japan on the label Exit Tunes. The label monetized all of the songs on youtube (except for the original youtube uploads) and thus many of the cover songs and various other video content with the songs have been pulled even though the person who made those songs are cool the songs being used in those ways and still hold the copyrights to the songs. So the automated system youtube uses is also screwing over copyright holders and those who use fair use on the site because they want to get everyone on their subscription fee plan.

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This kind of strong-arm shenanigans have become standard procedure from Youtube’s new business ventures. Earlier this year, Youtube launched a streaming music competitor to Pandora and Spotify, and after it negotiated terms with the big four music labels, it told all the indie musicians that they’d have to take those terms without any further negotiation, or be excluded from Youtube altogether.

So these blocks on the american youtube have basically confirmed that they’re strong arming indie labels like was said in your article


Video creators can certainly refuse YouTube’s terms, but they will need to then show their videos elsewhere, which I think is only A Good Thing. They treat their content providers like this because they count on people not being able to consider not using their service.

Instead of making a lame walled-off area of exclusive content which doesn’t interest me, it would be better if people could agree to pay a subscription to watch anything without ads. Avoiding ads can be an incentive in itself.

It is a lesson in the differences between democracy - where everybody gets a say, and populism - where we decide what the masses like and screw everybody else. YouTube’s direction over the past few years has been increasingly backwards, striving for a broadcast media model akin to what they were devised to originally replace. They are making themselves irrelevant.


As I understand Youtube Red, it actually is similar to what you’ve proposed – it doesn’t seem to be a paywall subscription area of Youtube, but is instead a way for people to view all youtube videos without ads. The sticking point is that Youtube can’t do this under the current Partner Contract, so Youtube is having to renegotiate them with all of the partners. There’s little value to a subscription option if it doesn’t work under all of Youtube, so Youtube feels that they have to get everyone on board with it. Thus the strong-arming. If I’ve gotten it wrong, please correct me.

I’m actually kind of conflicted on Youtube Red. Yes, it has the problems resulting now, where a bunch of good videos are getting kicked off/censored; it certainly makes it a lot harder for me to find more interesting Vocaloid music. However, I do like the underlying idea of Youtube Red because it seems that the ad-supported internet in general is having issues. It’s becoming a lot harder to make money off of advertising, so anyone trying to make a living off of Youtube Content usually has to badger their viewers to turn off their ad-blocker, or are turning to Patreon-esque platforms to get reliable income.


So who is the competition who’s going to treat creators better?


That could be the case. I have only read a little about in here and there, and never bothered to research the actual details. Everything I have read about it so far has stressed ad-free exclusive content, so perhaps I assumed that was all it was.

Either way, I am not impressed with their negotiating strategies. Nor the trend of pushing selected content for purposes of manufacturing “popularity”.

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This is exactly what I understand youtube red to be.

The subscription service would be meaningless if some videos still had ads because their creators didn’t opt in to youtube red.

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I imagine that subscription funds could simply be paid out per view as if they were ads. If the viewer is “red”, their $0.02 or whatever gets paid from the subscription. If they aren’t “red”, an ad plays and their pay comes from that. But YouTube probably has something in mind to get them “a better deal”.

I prefer more or less direct exchange. Like @doctorow wrote:

(you get my creations for free to build your platform; I get your platform to help distribute my stuff)

…without anyone imagining that they are somehow getting something for nothing.

From a technical perspective that is very close to what is occurring. From a legal perspective it’s considered totally different.

On the technical side when I pay my $10 each month I get add free and access to YouTube Originals and YouTube Music, and what ever else they are bundling in. Google pays out, according to some reports, something like 55%, or about 5.50 per month per subscriber. I’ve heard slightly varying descriptions of how the payout is allocated, from pure view count, to some time related metric (1 view of a 10 minute video is worth twice that of 1 view of a 5 minute video), but knowing Google it will be some algorithm that is secret and confusing.

From a legal side it’s all crappy all around. In the ESPN example they signed away exclusive rights to some one else to have their content on a streaming subscription service. Google has now started a streaming subscription service built into YouTube. This leads to a conflict of contracts inside ESPN.

Google could allow an exemption/opt-out for ESPN and others, but then I would be getting screwed and I’m very likely to pay for YouTube Red, when watch videos on YouTube I suddenly get ads on some videos after I’ve paid $12 per month (mobile cost $2 more). Is that fair to me?

Or Google can be a jerk to content creates and nice to consumers and force all of them into the same contractual mold. This sucks because we loose all of ESPN instead of getting ESPN with ads.

Both options suck, but I’d be far more likely to unsubscribe from any channel that opted-out so in the long run I’m not so sure that the two options are vastly different for me. I suppose Google calculated that they would loose less good will over all forcing content creators into this deal then they felt they would loose if they provided an “Ad-Free” service that was only “Ad-Free” on some percentage of channels.


That is the case 100%. YT Red’s primary intent is to give users a way to have an official YT with no ads. The mobile features are a tacked-on second and there is currently no exclusive content (they say it’s in the works). Thing is, it looks like shit when you have an offering of “you get to pay for ad-free service” when it’s only half ad-free. I haven’t looked over the agreement for the content creators yet on it, but I do know they get money for views.

Honestly this is something that will get channels /more/ money, not less, if you ask me (time will only tell). Before YT Red I blocked ads on YT. Couldn’t fucking stand them. I’d get beer advert after beer advert or something else that was just obnoxious. I tried again to turn off ABP on YT for a while, but couldn’t get very far before I was so annoyed that I had to turn it on again. Now that I can pay to subscribe to YT the creators are now getting something from me besides just added view stats.

Frankly, from a user’s perspective I think that these channels are being boneheaded by saying “no, we want to force everyone who views our videos to see ads”. YT is adding an option for consumer choice, and in that aspect they have to take from somewhere, and it was to make a change to the content creator monetization agreement. They would either force those who don’t want ads to use an adblocker (they don’t get money) or not view their videos (they don’t get money or bumps in popularity). To me, adding this option seems win-win with the rise of adblockers.


As a place you pay for the service of decent, low-BS video hosting, the obvious alternative is Vimeo.

As a mainstream media channel/juggernaut where billions of eyeballs sit waiting to be turned into ad profit, there’s no competition for YouTube at all.

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Don’t pay for YT Red through the iOS app store. Go directly through YT itself and save yourself that extra fee. It will still work the same with the iOS version of YT either way you pay for it.


I find it odd that Cory doesn’t once mention Google in his post. It’s Google, after all, that is doing this, not some disconnected entity called YouTube. This is a Google move. Hell, Google are even bundling their streaming music service as part of the sales pitch to consumers.

I mean…If this were iTunes doing something dickish like this, I’m pretty sure, given his past postings, Cory would be flaming Apple over and over again.

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When cable was created it was touted as something you pay for because you don’t get ads. Look at it now. I’m sure what the YT folks really want is people paying to watch it AND to get paid by advertisers once people are conditioned to think YT is something you pay for. Maybe they won’t call them ads, or maybe the ads won’t be in the video, they’ll be in the surrounding page. Regardless, I’m betting they’ll work something out.


Thanks, that’s pretty much what I was asking. I’m not a media guy, but when business does something stupid I start hoping the Invisible Hand will smack them down.


Search, Gmail, and a bunch of other Google services pretty much stand alone by offering good-enough quality for a price no one else can compete with: “free”, backed by their monstrous ad revenue and often “we don’t care if it loses money as long as it’s the only game in town” Amazon-like tactics. So competition just kind of gives up, and where does that leave the users?

In the case of YouTube it’s even worse, I think, because of sheer brand recognition. YouTube IS internet video for many, many people, from dad-joke-sharers to tablet-wielding babies, to folks who just want to listen to that song they like. Sadly, it seems the only market force that can touch YouTube’s dominance right now is even-bigger-and-badder Facebook.


The irony is, regardless of what you think about ads anywhere else on the Internet, it’s pretty darn hard to come up with a good reason not to block ads on YouTube.

I don’t block ads on YouTube because almost every channel I watch is made by people who depend on those ads for their lively hood.

Is that not a good reason?


There are any number of ways to get your video out there. Here’s a comparison of some of them:

The problem is huge masses of people who cry “monopoly”, except that when you point out that there are other viable services which they could choose to use, they dismiss out of hand! “Yeah… I guess. It’s not really a choice, because I am not going to use them.” Talk about creating your own problems!

People who complain about the internet turning into a giant shopping mall maybe should try actually (gasp) creating their own web site. Use actual standards for messaging, blogging, streaming, etc which work anywhere instead of using some evil monolithic company and then impotently complaining about the injustice of it all.