For more than a year now, YouTube’s attempts at a subscription model have been somewhat contentious. Their YouTube Music Key service launched in November of last year, and the service has been criticized by many independent creators. New information shows that another terms of service change may be on the way, laying the groundwork for a reworked subscription service.
According to an email received by Re/code, YouTube is updating its terms of service again, and creators need to agree to the terms to make their videos available on an upcoming paid subscription. Here’s part of the email:
If you haven’t signed by (October 22), your videos will no longer be available for public display or monetization in the United States. That outcome would be a loss for YouTube, a loss for the thriving presence you’ve built on the platform, and above all, a loss for your fans (…) We went through a similar process three years ago when we began distributing and monetizing your content on mobile devices. (…) Just as with mobile, we’re confident this latest update will excite your fans and generate a previously untapped, additional source of revenue for you.
This message looks very similar to the communications received by musicians before the launch of the Music service. However, the Music service could be changing when this new platform launches, according to Re/code:
Sources say that’s because YouTube intends to bundle two different services into one offering: An update of its music service, which it launched in beta as YouTube Music Key last fall, and another service, yet to launch, that will give users the ability to watch anything on YouTube without seeing ads.
If this change is indeed coming, it could provide an additional source of revenue for YouTube’s creators, who have long complained about the difficulty in earning a living on the site. And that is an argument made by YouTube in favor of the change.
If the revenue split is going to be unfair, or if users aren’t allowed to upload content without monetizing it, or keeping it private, it could cost YouTube uploads. However, YouTube already apparently has the agreement of the vast majority of content owners, on the site. Despite possible delays, it looks like YouTube subscriptions could be here in the near future.
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