Despite the popularity of major rival Spotify and other music-specific streaming services, YouTube remains the top choice for the consumption of music. This is no doubt due to its easy accessibility and use. The fact that it’s free to use is a huge component of that, with a majority of YouTube users being young people without the ability (or perhaps desire) to pay for the content.
Still, it was only a matter of time before the video-sharing giant started charging its users for access to some of its features, rather than relying solely on revenue gained from advertising. Last year, the company released its music streaming service Music Key in beta, but a new announcement has come out that there are plans in the works to launch a bundle service in October of this year. According to Redcode, the new service will combine an update of Music Key and another, yet to launch service, which will provide users with the ability to watch any YouTube content ad-free. After unpacking the details, it seems like the service will boil down to a multi-media player that can run in the background of your device(s) while you go about other things.
Late last week, an email went out to Youtube content owners regarding the new service. The email stated that content owners will have to agree to new terms incorporating the new monthly fee option of $10, or else their “videos will no longer be available for public display or monetization in the United States.” The email says that it’s all about the viewers and YouTube fans, but underneath it all, it’s pretty clear that the new service is actually all about driving revenue for YouTube partners and the company itself.
Here’s the full email that content owners received:
For years, YouTube’s fans have been telling us they want more — more choice when watching their favorite content, more ways to support their favorite creators and, above all, the option to watch their favorite videos uninterrupted.
To give fans more choice we will be launching a new ads-free version of YouTube, available to fans for a monthly fee. This service will create a new source of revenue over time that supplements your advertising revenue. That’s why an overwhelming majority of our partners — representing over 95% of YouTube watchtime — have asked for and signed up for this service.
As you heard in our previous emails, we want to ensure that fans who choose to pay for an ads-free experience can watch all the same videos that are available on the ads-supported experience. That’s why we’re asking you to update your agreement to reflect the updated terms for the ads-free service.
To accept, simply log into YouTube.com as “pakafka” from a desktop or laptop and follow the prompts by October 22nd.
If you haven’t signed by that date, 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 remain committed to working with you, as we always have. And of course, at any time, you can accept the updated terms which will make your videos public and monetizable again. Common FAQs can be found here.
We believe these new terms will greatly strengthen our partnership for the future. We went through a similar process three years ago when we began distributing and monetizing your content on mobile devices. Today, mobile represents over half of all watchtime and mobile revenue is up 2x in just the last year. 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.
If you have questions or encounter technical difficulties, we’re here to help: reach out to us for support here.
The YouTube Team