YouTube will stop showing exact subscribers this year

The popularity of YouTube channels is going to get a bit more vague in a few months as subscriber counts get abbreviated.

YouTube have announced that they will start abbreviating how many subscribers channels have by August of this year. YouTube want to streamline how subscribers are shown for channels across all platforms, instead of sometimes showing abbreviated counts and sometimes the number in full.

Channels with less than 1000 subscribers will still show their exact number for the sake of precision at lower numbers. Depending on the number of subscribers YouTube will round down to the nearest hundred, thousand, or million.

For example:

  • If a channel has 4,227 subscribers, the public subscriber count will read “4.2k” until the channel reaches 4,300.

  • If a channel has 133,017 subscribers, the public subscriber count will read “133K” until the channel reaches 134,000. 

  • If a channel has 51,389,232, the public subscriber count will read “51M” until the channel reaches 52,000,000.

YouTube say: “We know that subscriber counts are extremely important for creators and fans alike, so we wanted to give everyone a heads up a few months in advance of this change! We’ll share more specifics with creators as we get closer to the August 2019 date.”

The change will only apply when looking at other people’s channels. Creators will still be able to view the exact number of subscribers to their channels in real-time so that they can track their fans.

Add songs to your WeChat videos

Sometimes a video needs a bit of pizzazz before it’s worthy sending to your friends, it needs a soundtrack and WeChat have you covered.

Chinese messaging app WeChat are adding a feature that allows users to add songs to videos when they share them with their friends. WeChat will add access to tracks from QQ Music, a popular Chinese streaming service owned by WeChat’s parent company Tencent.

The new features will let users add background music from QQ’s giant catalogue to any videos that they send on WeChat messenger. There are concerns over the copyright clearance for video usage despite the music being cleared for use on QQ Music.

Some are saying this new feature is a response to Douyin, China’s version of TikTok. Concerned parties say that WeChat are trying to offer an alternative to prevent losing people to an alternative platform.

India can’t get enough of YouTube with the biggest growth globally

India’s love for YouTube is creating unparalleled growth for the home of online video around the world.

India is a major up-and-comer for online services right now with the recent launches of services like Spotify and YouTube Music, as well as the massive growth of local platforms like JioSaavn. Now, with over 256 million active monthly users, India is leading the way for the giant video site YouTube.

With a population of 1.3 billion people in India, 256 million users isn’t just a massive number but also means that one-fifth of India is watching videos on YouTube. With the launch of YouTube Music they’ve only become more popular and earned triple the users of Spotify’s impressive first week in which they gained 1 million users.

YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki said: “India is now both of our biggest audience and one of our fastest growing audiences in the world. YouTube today has become the first stop for users to consume content, whether they’re looking for entertainment or information. It is this incredible variety of content combined with the growing reach that makes YouTube a perfect platform for brands to drive personalised engagement.”

According to Wojcicki India’s use of YouTube on mobile devices has increased by 85% in the past year. 60% of the views in the country are coming outside of the 6 largest metro areas in India showing that their love for India doesn’t just represent metropolitan growth but a nationwide trend.

YouTube’s Indian growth isn’t just in viewers as creators are thriving in the country. Five years ago only 2 creators in India had over 1 million subscribers, that number is now over 1,200.

LiveXLive & iHeartMedia join forces to stream the best in live music

A multi-year agreement will see iHeartMedia and LiveXLive combine their livestreaming and online radio businesses.

iHeartMedia are purveyors of one of the biggest collections of radio stations online through iHeartRadio. They have teamed up with livestreaming and live music company LiveXLive Media for a multi-year deal combining their content, production, distribution and promotion.

The partnership gives LiveXLive exclusive rights to stream 17 iHeartRadio events globally. Events include iHeartRadio’s ALTer Ego iHeartCountry Festival, iHeartRadio Wango Tango, Daytime Stage at the iHeartRadio Music Festival and iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina. The deal also includes licensing and streaming rights for certain iHeartRadio Theater shows.

LiveXLive CEO and chairman, Robert Ellin says: “From the start, our mission has been to deliver the best seat in the house to fans of all genres of music. This deal immediately allows us to expand and diversify our programming through iHeartMedia’s reach of a quarter of a billion people across radio, digital, social and more.”

A new co-created iHeartRadio channel will be made for LiveXLive as well as other new co-produced and co-promoted video content. The new partnership is part of LiveXLive’s rapid expansion of content having streamed over 24 music festivals, concerts and other live music events with over 40 hours of live content during their 2019 fiscal year.

President of Entertainment Enterprises for iHeartMedia, John Sykes said: “We are all about connecting great artists with their fans in every way we can. This partnership with LiveXLive will expand the reach of our one of a kind iHeartRadio events and theatre shows to new audiences.”

Ellin added: “Our partnership with iHeartMedia is a powerful win for fans, bands and brands.”

PewDiePie concedes the #1 spot on YouTube a T-Series diss track

After months of feuding PewDiePie has accepted he is no longer the most popular channel on YouTube but he’s going out with a bang.

PewDiePie has famously been the most subscribed to channel on YouTube for years. That position has come under threat in recent months with the stratospheric rise of Bollywood channel T-Series, something PewDiePie has responded to with various campaigns and feuds.

But at last the channel’s growth can’t be ignored and the Swedish video maker has had to concede his position, congratulating the channel with a music video. He doesn’t take it lightly though, listing through various offences of the channel and accusations of their supposedly shady business practices.

T-Series’ chairman Bhushan Kumar is currently being investigated for “alleged evasion of huge tax and siphoning off hundreds of crores to foreign countries to purchase properties in the names of his employees”. As PewDiePie mentions in his diss track the channel started with pirated Bollywood songs and has various questionable steps along their way to the media giant they are now.

Whilst Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg (PewDiePie) is taking it in his stride with humour and doesn’t seem personally affected by the loss, the YouTube community sees it as a sign of something much more grave. Many see this as a turning point in YouTube’s priority for companies and corporate entities over independent creators. This has been seen more and more with recommended videos becoming saturated with chat show clips and popular music videos.

Whilst the culture on YouTube is part of a shifting dynamic, it was heartwarming seeing a community come together again in a campaign to keep PewDiePie at the top. Regardless of if it failed it shows that YouTube is yet to become a faceless media platform.

Artists relive their old videos in a new YouTube series

YouTube want to delve into the minds of artists in a unique way, looking at their journey to where they are today.

YouTube have partnered up with Genius, the lyrics site that looks behind the lyrics into their meanings and references, for a new series. The series, created for YouTube’s new music streaming service, provides ‘intimate interviews’ with artists and takes a look back at their career through old videos.

The video series will expand on YouTube’s Artist on the Rise series, putting new and rising artists in the Spotlight. It’s designed to highlight how artists have evolved and grown, specifically looking at how their presence on YouTube has connected with fans over the years.

The first episode features Maggie Rogers, an up-and-coming artist who has seen significant success since a video showing renowned producer Pharrell listening and applauding her music at her university became popular. Her Artist on the Rise video shows Maggie looking back at her journey whilst discussing her influences and reacting to fans covering and remixing her music.

Maggie Rogers said of the series: “I’m a giant fan of every artists selected to be in YouTube’s Artist on the Rise program, so to be joining that group of artists is such an honour. What’s so empowering about YouTube is that it’s a creative space and it offers such wide agency to artists to have creative freedom and use their voice to express themselves in whatever way feels true to them.”

YouTube’s global head of music, Lyor Cohen said: “Every artist has stories that reveal more about who they are and how they’ve found inspiration and influences from their community of fans. There’s no better platform than YouTube for artists to reach and connect directly with fans and through our new Artist on the Rise Content Series, we’re providing a way for emerging artists to share their unique journey with the fans that have been right there with them along the way.”

Maggie Rogers added: “With YouTube, this has felt like on of the most open and collaborative partners I could possibly work with so it’s a really exciting fit and opportunity for me.”

Watch Hulu and listen to Spotify in one cheap package

Watch your favourite shows and stream unlimited music ad-free all for one sweet price with Spotify Premium which now comes with Hulu included.

As of today Spotify Premium subscriptions now include Hulu at no extra cost. This means that customers in the US can stream Hulu’s giant library of TV shows and films as well as stream from Spotify’s catalogue of over 30 million songs for $9.99 a month.

If you’re already a Spotify Premium user, it only takes a few seconds to add Hulu’s ad-supported plan to your account—just visit the Your Services page. If you’re new to Spotify Premium, sign up for the bundle now at Spotify.com; you’ll get your first thirty days of both Spotify Premium and Hulu on us, then pay $9.99 per month. (Subscribers who are currently paying $12.99 per month as part of last year’s bundle offer will be automatically reduced to the regular Spotify Premium $9.99 price.)

Start exploring and enjoying the best music, movies and TV shows—all as part of your Spotify Premium membership. Limited quantity of offers: Open until June 10, 2019 or while supplies last. Terms apply.

TikTok just passed 1bn downloads as it’s fined for illegally collecting children’s data

China’s karaoke app has taken the kids’ side of the internet by storm but it’s embroiled in a privacy controversy as it reaches a new milestone.

TikTok is a popular app from Chinese developers ByteDance that has spread amongst young audiences around the world. It lets it’s users create short videos, often lip-syncing or dancing to music, and share them with the world.

This week it was revealed that they have passed a monumental 1 billion downloads worldwide by US app tracking company Sensor Tower. It’s popularity hasn’t come without it’s criticisms however, particularly surrounding it’s audience of mostly children. Concerns have been raised over children sharing videos with them on a global, public platform but they are now wrapped up in an actual legal battle.

The app, formerly known as musical.ly before being incorporated into TikTok last year, agreed to a record $5.7 million fine. They were accused of illegally collecting personal information from children under 13 by the US Federal Trade Commission. The app’s creators admitted to the infringement in a statement and announced changes to their app to resolve the issue.

They said: “In working with the FTC and in conjunction with today’s agreement, we’ve now implemented changes to accommodate younger US users in a limited, separate app experience that introduces additional safety and privacy protections designed specifically for this audience.

“From viral videos to tender moments, TikTok allows users from all walks of life to be their authentic selves while delighting in spontaneous humor and global trends. In the younger ecosystem, users cannot do things like share their videos on TikTok, comment on others’ videos, message with users, or maintain a profile or followers. However, they will be able to experience what TikTok is at its core – showcasing creativity – as they enjoy curated content and experiment with TikTok’s unique, fanciful, and expressive features.”

YouTube are making their striking system more transparent

One of the most consistent criticisms of YouTube is their striking system which is necessary but sometimes aggressive. Updates to strikes make them more clear.

YouTube have announced updates to their Community Guidelines that introduces a “new, simpler system” for strikes. They say that they have worked with creators to refresh their sometimes criticised approach to strikes to see what the community really wants.

YouTube say that based on feedback they are updating the system with consistent enforcement, clear policies, and transparency about the impact of strikes. With that in mind they’ve broken down their revamped rules into 3 clear sections: opportunities to understand the policies, a consistent penalty for each strike, and better notifications.

More opportunities to learn YouTube’s policies

Although 98% of you never break our Community Guidelines, they are vital to making YouTube a strong community and balancing freedom of expression with the freedom to belong. That’s why—from our earliest days—we’ve relied on a three-strikes system and email notices to give everyone a chance to review and understand what went wrong before they face more severe consequences. And it works: 94% of those who do receive a first strike never get a second one

We want to give you even more opportunities to learn about our policies, so starting February 25, all channels will receive a one-time warning the first time they post content that crosses the line, with no penalties to their channel except for the removal of that content. This is to make sure everyone takes the time to learn about our Community Guidelines, and then can quickly get back to creating great content and engaging with their audience in a way that complies with our rules.

Along with this new warning, we are also expanding the policy resources available in our help center to give more detail about what behavior will result in a strike. This includes new, detailed examples of the kind of content we commonly see that breaks our rules.

Consistent strikes across all of YouTube

We’re also making the penalty for violating our Community Guidelines the same wherever it happens. While most strikes result from videos, our Community Guidelines cover all content on YouTube, including stories, custom thumbnails, or links to other websites included in a video’s description or infocard.

Previously, not all strikes had the same penalty on your channel. For example, first strikes on videos would trigger a 90-day freeze on live streaming, and second strikes would result in a two-week freeze on new video uploads. We heard from many of you that this was confusing and the penalty didn’t match the source of the strike. Now, based on your feedback, all Community Guidelines strikes will have the same penalty:

As mentioned, everyone who uploads content to YouTube will now receive a warning the first time their content crosses the line. Although the content will be removed, there will be no other penalty on the channel. There will be only one warning and unlike strikes, the warning will not reset after 90 days.

  • The first strike will result in a one-week freeze on the ability to upload any new content to YouTube, including live streaming, and other channel activities. Strikes will expire after 90 days.
  • The second strike in any 90-day period will result in a two-week freeze on the ability to upload any new content to YouTube.
  • The third strike in any 90-day period will result in channel termination.

Transparency about your channel status

Finally, we always want to make it clear why a strike occurred, what it means for your channel, and the next steps that are available—including appealing the decision in case you think it was a mistake. To that end, we’re making our email and desktop notifications clearer, and they will provide more details on which policy was violated. We are also adding new mobile and in-product notifications to make sure you have all the important information about a strike available at a glance.

These updates are part of our ongoing work to make sure that YouTube is the best place to listen, share, and create community through your stories. Our strikes system is an important way for us to help creators and artists understand when they’ve crossed the line by uploading content that undermines that goal, and your feedback has helped to make this system work better for the entire community. We’ll build on this and all the progress we’ve made over the last year by continuing to consult with you as we strengthen enforcement and update our policies. We want to make sure they’re easy to understand and address the needs of the global YouTube community.

Roland are launching a multi-camera mixing desk for live streaming

Twitch streaming gets serious with Roland’s new mixing deck complete with cameras and microphones.

Live streaming is taking over online video bringing it bigger audiences of engaged communities that even the biggest video creators couldn’t replicate with uploaded videos on YouTube. As live streaming gets bigger the techniques get more sophisticated, as evidenced by Roland’s VR-1HD.

The mixing deck represents a new approach for the renowned audio tech manufacturers as it sees them invest in the video market. Their VR-1HD mixing deck offers a dynamic multi-camera broadcast with picture and sound that they promise “easily outshines ‘ standard’ livestreams from a mobile phone or static webcam”.

The deck features three “worry-free” HDMI inputs, each of which accepts a variety of HD and computer video resolutions. This allows users to connect and switch between multiple cameras, different gameplay or other video streams, even smartphones and tablets simply. With the two studio-quality XLR microphone inputs and dedicated line input audio can be blended from multiple sources too.

The deck has been designed with live broadcasting in mind so it’s controls are laid out simply and ergonomically for control on the fly. The VR-1HD has a Scene Switching function that lets you jump between video inputs with preset arrangements for the look of a professionally edited video all streamed live.

It has loads of smart functions that make it a dream for live streamers. For example if you’re streaming a chat with 2 or more people you can set it to switch which camera input it uses based on who’s talking by listening to the audio channels.

It’s capable of much more too, but it will set you back $1,500 if you want to get your hands on one. Find out more about Roland’s VR-1HD and where to buy it from Rolands website: proav.roland.com/global/products/vr-1hd