YouTube are launching a music subscription service next year

At last! It looks like YouTube want to rectify their damaged relationship with the music industry with a new paid service for music.

YouTube have long been criticised for their extremely low payouts on music which is a fraction of the amount even free streamers pay. YouTube look to finally patch things up with a subscription service launching next year.

People close to the matter say that YouTube have already signed Warner Music Group on-board for the service. The sources say that the 2 other major labels, Sony and Universal music, are both in discussions with YouTube as well as Merlin which represents a bunch of independent artists.

The paid service will create a sustainable income for music on YouTube, where millions flock every day to listen to music. The issue is that whilst streaming services focused on music like Spotify and Apple music have been able to create profit in the industry for the first time in years, YouTube’s platform is based around video and therefore the music on the site gets lumped in. YouTube pay out about $0.0006 per stream compared to Spotify who pay $0.0038 and the highest being Napster who pay $0.0167.

The new service is being referred to as Remix and will offer streaming options similar to Spotify with video elements taken from YouTube. According to the sources who have revealed the story

Google do already have their own streaming service in Google Play Music which for whatever reason has never been worked into YouTube, as their payout is one of the best. In 2014 YouTube launched Music Key, which allowed subscribers to watch music videos ad-free but that blended into YouTube Red which was packaged alongside Google Play Music. But again, music on YouTube remained at video value.

According to the sources revealing the service, YouTube have been trying to work a deal with the major labels for over a year. YouTube are also trying to get artists involved to help promote the new service. YouTube will have to deal with a closing contract with Vevo next year, the major label owned music video service.

Former Warner Music executive Lyor Cohen is clearly taking YouTube to task in improving their relationship with music. Do you think this new service will be enough?

YouTube promise to have over 10,000 content moderators next year

As YouTube’s landscape gets messier with advertisers pulling out and creators at a loss they are looking to crack down massively on screening content.

YouTube has had a rocky year that has caused uncertainty over their place at the top of video streaming sites. After the media got their jimmies rustled by misunderstanding a series of events on YouTube, the video giant got scared that it’s cash-cows *ahem* I mean advertisers were going to leave. So in response they cracked down on content and created a giant rift in the site between it’s dedicated creators and brands.

That’s not to say there isn’t toxic, dangerous, harmful and sometimes disgusting content on YouTube that should be controlled. It just seems that they are incapable of controlling it in a manner that doesn’t tear the platform apart. On Monday, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote a blog post that outlines the action they’re going to take moving into a new year on dealing with “offensive content”. Is it good? You’ll have to be the judge.

After a paragraph of how much Wojcicki claims to love her site and it’s assets, she turns around to say: “But I’ve also seen up-close that there can be another, more troubling, side of YouTube’s openness. I’ve seen how some bad actors are exploiting our openness to mislead, manipulate, harass or even harm. In the last year, we took actions to protect our community against violent or extremist content, testing new systems to combat emerging and evolving threats.

“We tightened our policies on what content can appear on our platform, or earn revenue for creators. We increased our enforcement teams. And we invested in powerful new machine learning technology to scale the efforts of our human moderators to take down videos and comments that violate our policies. Now, we are applying the lessons we’ve learned from our work fighting violent extremist content, testing new systems to combat emerging and evolving threats.”

How are they going to safeguard YouTube? By adding s**tloads of new moderators to scan content and take note of anything that doesn’t fit their policies. Since June this year YouTube’s team have reviewed almost 2 million videos just for violent-extremist content. Whilst their work is helping to train machine-learning tech YouTube also want more manpower making sure content is friendly. Google say they want to grow their team to over 10,000 in 2018.

Beyond pushing moderation of videos YouTube are actually going to take action in how they advertise to push fairness for creators as well as satisfying their advertisers (at least they say for now). Wojcicki said:

“This requires a new approach to advertising on YouTube, carefully considering which channels and videos are eligible for advertising. We are planning to apply stricter criteria, conduct more manual curation, while also significantly ramping up our team of ad reviewers to ensure ads are only running where they should. This will also help vetted creators see more stability around their revenue. It’s important we get this right for both advertisers and creators, and over the next few weeks, we’ll be speaking with both to hone this approach.”

Whilst it seems like YouTube are saying they will improve the current situation for creators getting demonetised unfairly we will have to see it in action. So far they have acted under the guise of working for both creators and advertisers but only certain big name creators have been immune to YouTube’s harsh new content restrictions.

Wojcicki ended:

“As challenges to our platform evolve and change, our enforcement methods must and will evolve to respond to them. But no matter what challenges emerge, our commitment to combat them will be sustained and unwavering. We will take the steps necessary to protect our community and ensure that YouTube continues to be a place where creators, advertisers, and viewers can thrive.”

We’ll find out soon enough.

Start buying concert tickets on YouTube with new Ticketmaster partnership

YouTube have partnered with Ticketmaster to offer tickets to gigs straight from their massive video platform.

YouTube is no longer just for watching live shows that you missed or want to reminisce over gigs you’ve seen, now you can secure your place at future concerts from the video site. A new partnership with Ticketmaster will see concert details and purchases implemented into YouTube.

YouTube say that they’ve been experimenting with ways they can offer tickets to fans on YouTube. Ticketmaster marks their first ticketing partnership and will see hundreds of artists offer tickets for their upcoming US tour dates. Tickets will show up on certain artists’ official music videos where a simple click will take you straight to Ticketmaster to buy tickets.

YouTube said: “YouTube’s massive fan base paired with Ticketmaster’s global roster of concerts and security of verified tickets means we can easily connect a fan’s discovery of music on YouTube to their ability to purchase concert tickets.”

Ticketmaster YouTube concert tickets sell ticketing video music streaming

YouTube have slipped into the music streaming sphere thanks to their music offering with video, providing a revenue source as well as a listening platform. Certain streaming services like Spotify have been advertising concert dates and tickets on their platform for a while now.

YouTube say that they are “just getting started”. Soon they will expand the feature to all artists with Ticketmaster shows in North America. They also say that they have plans to carry on and expand this feature globally.

Viral YouTube videos might make chart hits on Billboard soon

Can you imagine Gangnam Style being number one in the official charts? Billboard and YouTube might be teaming up to count video plays in chart data.

According to a new report YouTube plays are to be integrated into Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, representing the biggest music over all genres. This could have a massive impact on the charts, especially with hits that go viral on YouTube without reaching the same success outside of YouTube.

Last year Billboard added streaming data from services like Spotify and Tidal to their charts to more accurately represent the music people are listening to. Then at the start of 2017 Billboard integrated streaming into all of their music charts. Now YouTube are the next big step in corroborating music performance across every platform to depict what’s hot in the world of music.

Interestingly, a move that could truly change the dynamics of the Billboard Hot 100, the move wouldn’t just include official music videos. User-made videos that feature music will also be included in the data so that unofficial uploads of music will count towards chart performance. This is a questionable move but assuming the user’s videos are legally monetised to distribute revenue to artists it could be great for artists.

Assuming the reports are accurate this would be great news for independent artists as well. Streaming sites and YouTube have become brilliant portals for artists without access to major distribution to get a name out there. Now with a viral video or a well shared track we could be seeing much more diversity within the charts.

Whilst it isn’t currently much more than a rumour, music industry rumours have a good track record of becoming true. A source told Hypebot that talks are ongoing between Billboard and the labels about what data can be used and they are yet to make a decision about the inclusion of YouTube.

YouTube will no longer let you share web links in videos

YouTube have restricted external links to other websites being put into videos except from select creators.

In a bizarre and potentially very damaging move YouTube has decided to ban links that lead out of YouTube in their ‘end cards’ unless you’re making money for them. They have announced that the restriction will take place from now on for all users except creators in the YouTube Partners program.

YouTube claim they have introduced the restriction to curb abuse that comes from viewers following links from videos to write/cause abuse. What it seems more like from the outside is that YouTube are trying to prevent creators who haven’t signed up to make money off of video ads (which YouTube takes a big cut of) are going to be extremely limited. Yet another move to appease YouTube’s advertisers whilst ignoring any needs of it’s community and creators.

YouTube say:

In order to use externally-linking end cards in videos, creators are being asked to join the YouTube Partner program, so that we can evaluate the validity of the channel, as well as determine whether the channel is following our community guidelines and advertiser policies. This update is meant to curb abuse and does not affect current YouTube partners or existing end cards. Additionally channels do not have to actually monetize any videos as part of this requirement.

Now YouTube creators who make money from platforms outside of YouTube, don’t want to monetise their videos, or just haven’t reached 10,000 views yet can’t link out of YouTube at the end of their videos. This means official websites, Patreon sites, even relevant articles/sources can’t be added in an easily clicked end card. For fan-funded channels who make money from donations rather than ads this could spell their demise on the world’s biggest video hosting site.

For musicians, artists, producers, DJs and everyone else in music this a horrific move. YouTube is a great promotion tool for video content, but without the option to link to your fan pages, pages where you can purchase their music, or anything else YouTube is going to go from a great promo platform to a dead-end.

Safe to say a lot of creators are angry and YouTube are facing the backlash as we speak. Fortunately there is somewhat of a workaround for now that some channels can attempt. Creators have reported that if you join YouTube’s Partner Program without enabling monetisation you will be able to add links as usual for now.

Good luck recovering from this one YouTube.

YouTube gets a new look and a bunch of features

YouTube have refreshed their look and design with a sleek new appearance and introduce a bunch of great features on mobiles.

When YouTube launched 12 years ago, it was a single website that supported one video format, 320×240 at 4:3 aspect ratio. Fast forward to today, and YouTube lets you watch any combination of SD, HD, 4K, 360, 3-D, and live video on nearly every device with an internet connection – from desktops to phones, tablets to TVs, game consoles, and even VR headsets.

YouTube has come a hell of a long way, but there’s no end in sight with a fresh coat re-enlivening the YouTube site and app’s appearance. As they say themselves: “We’re not even close to done. Over the last few months we’ve started releasing updates and will continue to throughout the rest of the year. When all is said and done, we’ll bring a new level of functionality and a more consistent look across our desktop and mobile experiences.”

On the website the new YouTube logo and icon is subtle but pleasant, changing very little but making it clearer and easier to work with. The new desktop design introduces Google’s Material Design to YouTube giving it a fresh new look and making the website simple and intuitive to navigate. If you’re looking to switch up YouTube’s look a bit you can now apply ‘Dark Theme’ which makes the background dark for a cinematic experience, or just if you prefer black.

New infinite scroll means you can scroll down endlessly looking at videos and comments. Verification badges have been updated to a higher resolution so that it is harder for unverified channels to imitate verified channels. Creator and account settings are now all in the right hand menu under your profile picture. Sub numbers will also be rounded to simplify stats, whilst you can still see precise numbers under the channel name on the ‘About’ section on a channel’s page.

YouTube’s mobile app meanwhile gets a bunch of new features and some still to come:

  • Clean new design: We’ve made the header white to let content take the lead and moved the navigation tabs to the bottom of the app so they’re closer to your thumbs. We also added new Library and Account tabs that give you easy access to what you’re looking for.
  • Videos that move with you: One of the things we’re working on is bringing gestures to YouTube. Earlier this year, we introduced a gesture that allows you to double tap on the left or right side of a video to fast forward or rewind 10 seconds. Give it a try! We already see billions of double taps per day. And I wanted to give you a sneak peek at another gesture I am really excited about. In the coming months, we’ll experiment with a feature that lets you jump between videos with a simple swipe of your hand: just swipe left to watch a previous video or swipe right to watch the next one.
  • Watch at your own pace: Users love that they are able to speed up and slow down the playback of a video on desktop, and we’re excited to bring this feature to the mobile app today, so you can enjoy videos at whatever speed you prefer.
  • Adapt to any video, beautifully: We’ve also been experimenting with new ways to display all videos in the best possible way. Soon, the YouTube player will seamlessly change shape to match the video format you’re watching, such as vertical, square or horizontal. That means you’ll always get the best viewing experience automatically – including vertical videos with no black bars on the sides!
  • Browse and discover while you watch: We recently added a feature that lets you view a row of suggested videos while you’re watching in full screen. We’re also working on transforming the area below the player so you can browse videos in totally new ways.

There’s a brand new, exciting way to share on YouTube

YouTube have redesigned the way you share videos making it better and easier than ever before.

Thanks to the internet we live in an increasingly globalised world and a massive part of this new world is being able to talk with anyone, anywhere, at any time. But not just talking discovering, enjoying, and sharing new experiences – something YouTube is all about.

YouTube say that: “Like chats around the water cooler, shouldn’t sharing a video be as easy as saying, ‘Have you heard this new song?’.” With this in mind YouTube have been working on their new update that provides the best sharing experiences with the video site ever.

From today, anywhere in the world. you can share YouTube videos instantly straight from the YouTube app. Straight from the YouTube app you can now share videos, talk about them, invite more to join the conversation/see the video, even reply with another video and more.

YouTube sharing share friends app application video videos

Of course this won’t mean that you can’t share on any of your other apps as before, but YouTube hope this enhances sharing on YouTube making it “easier, faster and more fun on your phone”. The new features and chats will live in a new tab on the YouTube app which you can slide up at anytime.

The new sharing features have already rolled out globally on their mobile apps.

Gangnam Style? Nope. See You Again? No more. A new video dominates YouTube now

Just a month after Gangnam Style lost its long running spot at number 1 on YouTube, another video has taken first place.

Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa knocked Psy’s Gangnam Style off the top spot as most viewed video ever on YouTube after years of the South Korean’s domination. Their own streak wasn’t quite as lengthy though, as there’s already a new video at the top of the video just 1 month later.

The new video that has taken the spot as the most viewed video ever, on the biggest video hosting platform in the world is… Despacito. Yeah, that Spanish pop song that everyone is listening to at the moment because, well I don’t know.

Despacito has been the song of the summer this year topping charts around the world. It was the first Spanish-language song to make it the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in over 20 years since Macarena in 1996.

The song, coming from Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee has been a viral hit shooting up in views since it was released at the start of this year. Daddy Yankee has since made an Instagram video sharing his gratitude for being part of what is now the biggest video on the web.

Yankee says: “Thank you YouTube for Despacito’s success. I recognise the influence that the platform has. The music industry has changed. The rules of music have changed. And YouTube has a big responsibility, and I recognise it. Breaking the record is overwhelming, and I’m happy to keep [inspiring] others to do the same.”

The song has no doubt been boosted by a remix featuring Justin Bieber, but with none of Bieber’s own tracks holding the same accolades it’s safe to say that Despacito is in a league of its own.

Head of YouTube Music says it will merge YouTube Red and Google Play Music into one

YouTube’s man for music, Lyor Cohen, has revealed that they are combining their music streaming service and YouTube’s subscription offering.

Lyor Cohen has spoken on some interesting new plans that have been rumoured for a while now. The merger of both YouTube’s subscription offering, YouTube Red, with Google Play Music – Google’s dedicated music streaming service. Now the head of music at YouTube, Cohen, has confirmed the plans.

Whilst it is unlikely that the services themselves would merge together into one app/website the change would make them both available on the same subscription. Cohen said: “The important thing is combining YouTube Red and Google Play Music, and having one offering.”

YouTube currently has a few different offerings which seem to have confused users, prompting a more aligned offering. YouTube Music is currently an app free for anyone that is dedicated just to music on YouTube. YouTube Red however is paid and takes away ads on videos , lets you watch videos offline, and, most importantly for music lovers, listen to videos with the screen locked.

Google combined the two teams earlier this year, assumably with these plans in mind, so it should be an easy transition. Whilst you currently get either service for free with the other this move will combine the two services into one. Hopefully this also signifies the expansion of YouTube Red which, whilst it has been available for over a year in the US, YouTube Red is still only available in 5 countries. Google Play Music on the other hand has launched in 64 countries.

We just want YouTube Red in the UK already!