There is so much chatter about YouTube Red, the walling off of access to content, the strong-arming of creators into business models they might not like, the implications on subscription services on audiences etc. I am still forming opinions on this, and have been talking to everyone I can to solidify my thoughts.
I think it is a potentially transformative long term play for the emerging class of professional independent content creators. I think it is priced too high for the market right now.
I am not the core audience that uses YouTube for music, but in talking with a friend who is a professional musician on YouTube, he has high hopes, and understands that the pricing was tied to the positioning of YouTube Red to compete with other music services.
In thinking about YouTube Red it begs the larger question of what kind of internet do we want to have in the future and how do we build a business model to sustain that kind of internet, or is the answer multiple kinds of access? What does a positive outcome of these changes look like? Creators getting more money and more time to tell the stories and make the content they want?
If this is the future it means a lot of people have to get paid. If they are to get paid, the money has to come from somewhere. Is that place brands, and our version of the internet is free and full of ads? Is it the most engaged fans becoming patrons of the arts and donating to their favorite creators so that creators can make work for everyone? Is it creators needing to diversify their art and sell ancillary products and merchandise? Do creators sell their works individually as they make them?
Brands have been bankrolling YouTube creators’ abilities to make money from their work. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn etc don’t share ad revenue with the people that populate their sites with content. This content is what makes those platforms valuable.
Enough with the speculating. On with the link dump.
Hank Green’s long video about the subject:
John Green’s summary of these thoughts in a shorter video:
A piece in Vanity Fair that includes a response to John Green’s perspective on YouTube: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/10/youtube-digest-october-30
Forbes, positioning YouTube Red as a result of Apple’s App based ecosystem that privileges the freemium model, and this being Google’s chance to get ahead in that model:
PewDiePie’s take on YouTube Red to combat the use of ad-blockers, and how ad-blockers hurt creators:
What happened to ESPN’s YouTube channels because of the legal positioning of the way their content can exist on digital: