The American Music Awards are now officially partnered with YouTube

YouTube Music have signed a multi-year deal with Dick Clark’s American Music Awards for the first-ever presenting partnership for the awards ceremony.

On October 9th YouTube will be the first presenting sponsors for the American Music Awards, the celebration of artists based on people’s love and admiration for them. The American Music Award’s nominees are based on performance and interaction with fans from streaming services, social media activity, radio plays and more to gauge who people are talking about the most.

YouTube Music’s global head and director, Angela Courtin says: “YouTube Music’s partnership with The American Music Awards is a natural extension of the intimate artist-fan connection that is made possible on YouTube’s global platform. The American Music Awards are the world’s largest fan-voted awards show and YouTube is the world’s largest fan-voted awards show and YouTube is the world’s largest platform for discovering music with more than one billion fans each month coming to be a part of music culture and engage with over two million artists who share their voices and art with the world.”

The CEO of Dick Clark Productions, Mike Mahan said: “YouTube brings global reach, awareness and engagement to the American Music Awards unlike ever before. We look forward to enhancing the AMAs in a unique, innovative and immersive way.”

The Future of Music explores the exciting shape of music in the 21st Century

The Future of Music is a new series from The Verge which explores how technology has shaped the sound of modern music and how it will keep evolving it.

Music has come a long, long way since the Divje Babe flute, carved 41,000 years ago. The 20th century saw music transform all bounds thought possible with the advent of genres like Jazz, Rock, Blues, and everything that came after. In addition equipment has completely transformed with new instruments and probably the biggest influence on modern music – technology.

A new series created by Verge reporter and professional DJ Dani Deahl will see her explore how people are bushing the boundaries of music and how we experience it in our modern world. With her team made up of senior director Christian Mazza and supervising producer Sophie Erickson they will be going behind the scenes in startups, studios and musicians’ homes and lives to explore the exciting stories of people pushing the boundaries of music.

Deahl says:

This season, join me, Dani Deahl, as I meet the people who are pushing the limits of how we create and experience music, and explore how technology is changing everything – from attending a concert in virtual reality to writing a pop song with artificial intelligence to making a giant instrument out of 44 Furbies. (Yes, really.) There are lots of questions to be answered regarding tech and music converging. Perhaps the most important one is: what does it mean when technology advances to a place where it challenges our human sense of creativity? I’m going to find out.

You can tune in for the first episode of Future of Music on Thursday, 23rd of August.

YouTube lists the smartphones you should be watching videos on

YouTube have just launched a brand new report which lists all of the best smartphones for watching YouTube and which ones will diminish your viewing experience.

YouTube have revealed their ‘YouTube Device Report’ which recommends the best devices for a high quality YouTube experience. It came out after Samsung unveiled their Note 9 phablet device which they said would be a ‘YouTube Signature Device’ for 2019. The Galaxy Note 9 currently tops the whole list.

Devices selected for the top of the list will support high quality streaming up to 4K, high frame rates, high dynamic range, next-generation codecs, reliable DRM performance as well as the ability to watch 360-degree footage. Google have said that they have worked personally with manufacturers to verify that each device meets or exceeds their performance expectations.

Google say: “These smartphones can deliver the best-in-class YouTube experience by combining next generation technologies, video performance, and reliability. With a signature device, you can enjoy vivid HDR videos, immersive 360° video, and fast video load times – all while using less bandwidth.”

Signature devices will need to live up to these qualities:

High dynamic range

With support for High Dynamic Range (HDR), you’ll see videos that are richer in detail, with true-to-life colors. HDR capabilities allow a phone to display greater contrast, so you can see details of a videos, whether that scene is shot in the dark, or bright light.

360° video

Immerse yourself in a new world with 360° videos, which have been recorded in all directions. Look up, down, or all around; with 360° videos you’re in control of the viewing experience, through on-screen controls or through a VR headset.

4K decoding

While some devices display 4K on their screens, 4K decoding ensures that you’ll see videos in high resolution and stunning clarity on VR, delivering riveting experiences.

High frame rate

Enjoy gaming, sports, and action videos without missing a beat. Support for high frame rate (anything greater than 60 frames per second) means you get super smooth video playback.

Next generation codecs

Watch high resolution videos on YouTube while using up to 30% less bandwidth. 2019 Signature Devices are built with hardware VP9 profile 2 decoding, an advanced video codec technology.

Digital rights management performance

From YouTube TV to rental movies, Signature Devices seamlessly stream premium content without disrupting your viewing experience.

Musical.ly disappear and find a new home in Tik Tok

Musical.ly are closing their doors but lip-syncers need not fear as they’re joining Tik Tok for a combined video experience in one place.

Musical.ly are closing their app and losing their brand as part of a merger with similar app Tik Tok. The merger will see Musical.ly’s users and content join Tik Tok’s short-form video platform for a unified experience of user-created videos.

Chinese firm Bytedance bought Musical.ly last November for $1 billion and are now combining it with Tik Tok which they also own. The co-founder of Musical.ly and senior vice-president of Tik Tok, Alex Zhu says: “Combining Musical.ly and TikTok is a natural fit given the shared mission of both experiences – to create a community where everyone can be a creator.”

Whereas Musical.ly is a platform where anyone can come and create short videos to millions of the biggest and latest songs, Tik Tok focuses on a broader video experience where users can create short videos wit music, stickers and animations to liven it up. Musical.ly have just reached a milestone of 100 million users whilst Tik Tok are even more ridiculously popular with a community of 500 million video creators and lovers.

Musical.ly users will find themselves with a news feed spread across more countries than before as well as personalised recommendations. With the merging of the two platforms Tik Tok are also upgrading their app with fun new features allowing users to react to videos as well as enhanced creative tools.

Tik Tok are also launching a new series of creator programmes which provide users with technical support, performance insights and guidance on growth strategy. They are also launching a safety centre “to build an online experience that feels safe and welcoming”.

Whilst Tik Tok will now feature Musical.ly’s community and lip-sync video creating opportunities the Chinese version of the app, named Douyin, will remain a standalone app.

Vertical videos finally look good on YouTube

Bye-bye black bars. After years of discrimination YouTube are finally showing vertical videos the respect they (maybe) deserve on PCs.

Vertical videos on YouTube are finally going to look… better. Regardless of your opinion on whether vertical videos are sacrilege against viewing pleasure, YouTube are making the experience better by optimising vertical videos to fit your monitor rather than placing into the YouTube cube with black bars on either side.

Vertical videos now match the width of standard videos but extend below into the space where titles and descriptions are to allow it’s vertices to stretch out after years of fitting into the constrictions set by their wider brethren. This only works in Default View and not in the widescreen Theater Mode display, so the video will show in the left hand side of your tab with it’s new ratio.

Of course, this is nothing new for mobile viewers but smartphones have a vertical screen anyway so it’s always made sense. Rarely are monitors vertical, but this is an improvement that allows vertical videos more room to breathe even if they aren’t living up to their full potential. At the very least it gets rid of those annoying black bars which would taunt you with chants of “you’re watching a vertical video – you’re watching a vertical video.”

Vertical videos YouTube video stream watch format update feature

The new format will affect all videos in standard 16:9 format and vertical videos, as well as the 4:3 format videos of yesteryear’s. YouTube announced the update on Friday  and users have had the weekend to get to grips with the new layout and they’ve expressed their feelings…

Whilst it is generally an improvement for videos that don’t fit into the standard 16:9 widescreen format users are complaining that it has actually made it worse for watching some videos. Users are reporting that in some cases the update makes videos even smaller than they would have been when squeezed into the widescreen box. In other cases the update has lowered the quality of videos or even cut sections of it off.

A user on the Google Forums, where they announced the update, was just unhappy that they couldn’t choose whether to use the new layout or stick with the old one. User Dermacrosis said: “It’s bloody awful give us the option to turn it off.” Another user comments: “Some YouTube videos just don’t look good when the screen is big. Either give us a way to opt out of this, or fix it.”

It’s likely Google are still working out the kinks and will update it based on the user-response so far. But then it’s YouTube, so maybe not and this is vertical viewing now until the end of time. We’ll have to wait and see, for now enjoy those extra inches!

YouTube joins the dark side with their new theme for Android

YouTube are going dark with their new colour theme on Android taking them away from the light side, but only if you choose to join them.

Android owners can at long last fulfil their dreams of scrolling through YouTube on their devices with a cool dark ambience accompanying their video discovery. YouTube have launched their dark theme on their Android app, 4 months after they launched the feature to happy iOS users.

However you might not want to celebrate just yet as the feature hasn’t been announced by Google themselves yet and was in fact reported by Reddit user u/Absinth92. The user noticed over the weekend that their YouTube app had changed to dark mode with the option to disable and enable it now in their app settings.

User U/Absinth92 strangely didn’t discover the feature to activate but opened their app at the weekend to find it running already. They said: “Weirdly enough, I didn’t do anything to turn it on. But I just found it in Settings under General.” Others have reported the feature in their YouTube app but it hasn’t been rolled out to everyone.

If you’re one of the lucky few you can check your settings in your YouTube app on your Android device. Head the General section and it should be the second option from the top if it has been enabled for you. Google haven’t spoken about the Android launch at all nor have they commented on certain users getting the feature whilst many don’t but hopefully this isn’t a mistake and it will be rolling out to all Android users soon.

Netflix look to radio as they prepare their own station for SiriusXM

Netflix have dominated TV and films online and are only growing larger but now they’re looking to the future with the launch of their first radio station.

Netflix have just revealed a new partnership which strays from their usual industry partners of TV and film studios. This time they’ve partnered with online radio giants SiriusXM to take their programming into the world of online audio and shows them diversifying beyond their own video platform onto a third-party.

The partnership will see the Netflix channel join SiriusXM’s host of online radio stations and will offer excerpts and highlights from the video giant’s slew of new comedy programming. In the past year Netflix have put a lot into comedians large, small and rising with hundreds of live comedy shows funded and/or published by Netflix. With so many comedy shows on their platform it’s easy for less popular ones to get lost so their SiriusXM station will give listeners a highlight reel they can easily tune in and out of and it will be in one place so users don’t have to search through the plethora of live comedy on Netflix.

The new comedy channel is slated to launch on SiriusXM in January 2019 and will no doubt be fruitful for all parties involved with Netflix expanding their reach, SiriusXM gaining more popular content, and comedians getting further exposure. SiriusXM has more than 32 million subscribers who will have the chance to come and listen to the best of Netflix’s comedy offerings and there is a lot of them.

Netflix is taking a major leap into the live comedy arena with an upcoming, to-be-named series which will feature 47 comedians from 13 regions around the world performing half-hour stand-up specials. Some of the performances will be recorded at the Just for Laughs comedy Festival in Montreal whilst others will be filmed in Brazil, Mexico, India, Germany and The Netherlands.

Netflix’s vice president of Original Documentary and Comedy programming, Lisa Nishimura said: “Few things are better than discovering a new comedian you love. With this event, we’re creating a true comedy festival experience for our members where they can scour the globe from home to find some of the freshest voices in comedy.”

You can check out a list of all the comedians involved in Netflix’s new comedy series here: media.netflix.com/en/press-releases/netflix-brings-together-comedians-from-around-the-world-in-a-netflix-stand-up-comedy-event-series-launching-in-2019

YouTube follows Twitter with new clickable hashtags above video titles

Twitter reinvented how hashtags are used in English language and YouTube are taking their hashtags to another level putting them front and centre of videos.

YouTube have started including clickable hashtags at the forefront of videos, sandwiched in between the video itself and it’s title. The new layout will allow viewers to easily explore YouTube’s billions, potentially trillions, of videos for any similar videos using the same tags.

Making tags so prominen will enhance video discovery making it simple to jump from a cat video to a page of more cat videos with one click. Each video will display the first three hashtags that the video creator has tagged their video with so creators need to ensure that their most important and relevant tags are placed first.

The feature has been launched for the YouTube Android app and is also available on the web player. It is not yet available on iOS, say YouTube on their updated Help page regarding hashtags, and they haven’t revealed when or if they plan to bring the new feature to videos on Apple devices.

YouTube are well aware of how hashtags can be abused and have policies in place to prevent uploaders taking advantage of the tool. Specifically YouTube make clear that over-tagging videos won’t be tolerated as each extra tags make them less relevant to users. YouTube say: “If a video has more than 15 hashtags, we’ll ignore all hashtags on that video. Over-tagging may result in the removal of your video from your uploads or from search.”

In addition any offensive tags can and often will result in the removal of the video, including: Misleading or unrelated hashtags, harassment, hate speech, sexual content, vulgar language, and non-hashtags which YouTube define as “ordinary descriptive tags or repetitive sentences.”

YouTube have been experimenting with more new features for Android in the past few weeks including an Incognito Mode for private video browsing on the app. In addition YouTube have improved the aesthetic of their Android app with video thumbnails now extending to the edges of the screen without a small white border on each side.

Sorry iOS, we guess you’ll have to wait a bit longer for these cool new tools.

YouTube launch ‘Copyright Match’ feature to find creators’ stolen content

YouTube have launched a solution to the exasperating issue of re-uploaders and content thieves on their giant video platform.

YouTube’s new Copyright Match tool gives certain creators the power to identify videos using their content. The new tool looks to solve the issue in which large YouTuber’s would have their content stolen and the re-uploader earn ad-revenue, views and subscribers from someone else’s content.

The new feature has it’s own section in YouTube Studio for channels with over 100,000 subscribers, though this feature will hopefully extend to smaller channels as YouTube are calling it’s current existence “a small pilot”. When YouTube finds a match to a video it will appear in the Copyright Match hub in the Studio and the creator can decide what action to take.

The process is simple enough:

  1. If you’re eligible for the tool, you’ll see the Copyright section in your left navigation in YouTube Studio.
  2. Under the Copyright section, monitor the Matches tab to see any very similar videos that we find uploaded to YouTube.
  3. There are several actions you can take when reviewing matches in the tool, depending on how you want to manage your rights:
    1. Archive – Move the match to your Archive tab without taking action on the video. You’ll still be able to take action at a later date if you choose.
    2. Message the channel – Initiate a conversation with the uploading channel notifying them that the reupload has been identified. You can keep track of who you’ve notified in the Messages tab and continue the conversation over email.
    3. Request removal – Submit a legal request for YouTube to remove the matched video from the site. You have two options when choosing this action:
      1. Scheduled: Send a 7-day notice – Send the channel a notice to remove the video. After 7 days, if they haven’t removed the video, it will be taken down and they may receive a copyright strike.
      2. Standard: Request removal now – Your removal request will be submitted directly to YouTube. After removal, the uploading channel may receive a copyright strike.

      After submission, keep an eye on your email in case we need more information before we can process your request. You can also check your Removal Requests tab for a record of your submissions and updates on their status.

Roll out the red carpet and launch videos in style with new YouTube Premieres

There’s nothing like the excitement at the premiere launch of a new film or art piece – now creators on YouTube can join their fans all around the world for a grand video release.

At last week’s VidCon YouTube unveiled a bunch of new features that will create an enhanced experience for fans and creators on YouTube alike. Bringing the Hollywood experience to creators and viewers, YouTube have revealed their new YouTube Premieres which will give video launches the excitement and build-up they deserve with a community of people coming together to watch a new video from the channels they love.

At VidCon YouTube introduced a new way for creators to upload content to YouTube called Premieres. With Premieres, creators will be able to debut pre-recorded videos as a live moment. When creators choose to release a Premiere, YouTube will automatically create a public landing page to build anticipation and hype up new content.

When all fans show up to watch the premiere, they’ll be able to chat with each other (and with the creator!) in real time via live chat. It’s as if a creator’s entire community is in one theater together watching their latest upload. Premieres also unlocks new revenue streams. For the first time, creators can use Super Chat on traditional YouTube uploads and take advantage of Channel Memberships perks that were previously only available on Live videos.

Premieres are starting to roll out to creators today and will be available broadly soon. If you want to experience one for yourself, check out some upcoming premieres from creators such as Leroy SanchezJacksFilmsJackson Bird, and Ari Fitz, with more Premieres coming from  Corridor Digital and Inanna Sarkis soon.

YouTube creators are the heartbeat of the giant video platform. That’s why they’re committed to building products that empower and support the creator community. YouTube hope that these tools help creators build a stronger community and earn more money while doing it, because when they succeed, the entire YouTube community thrives.