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Welcome back to 2006, McFly

Windows Movie Maker lyric videos anyone? Indie artists will have little incentive to upload anything more than audio files and cover art under YouTube's new Partner Program.

The new policy of 4,000 hours of watch time annually will instantly cause a huge portion of the indie music industry to lose monetization.  

Most indie artists don’t even have a catalog of videos large enough to generate that kind of watch time.  Assuming an artist has 4 albums out with 10 songs, each, and they have a video for half the songs on each album, that’s 20 videos.  Assuming each video is 4 minutes in length (which is being very generous). that means a the average band has approximately 80 minutes worth of content on their channel.

Indie artists are going to have to find way to get fans to watch a bare minimum of 24,000 minutes of video, in the last 12 months, in order to maintain their monetization status. This is a COMPLETELY flawed and asinine way to approach monetization as it pertains to music.  

Music channels aren’t like ordinary YouTube channels. We don’t upload 15 minute long videos about the latest video game we’re playing, political rant,  or make-up technique.  Band videos are short, and tend to be far more expensive to produce than the average joe with a home video camera and a bed sheet hanging behind his head.

 Even if a band throws together a cheap home video, the fact remains that they likely have several hundred, if not thousands of dollars invested in the audio track. Does YouTube really expect us all to provide that content for free now?

Speaking of audio...

YouTube’s attempt to build a music service over the last couple of years is appreciated, quite frankly it sucks, and most music fans aren’t using it.  

One of the problems with YouTube Music?

Artists have no way to control the quality of the audio attached to videos uploaded prior to the launch of YouTube Music, without re-uploading the video all over again, and sacrificing the views and watch time of the old video.

For example, if you uploaded a video to old YouTube, 7 years ago, in 360p format with a 128 kbps audio file, it is far below current music service standards, and the artist’s hands are tied to do anything about it unless they delete videos and start over. Of course doing that, further injures the artists ability to reach 4,000 hours of watched minutes in the past year, since deleting the old video also deletes the credited hours and minutes watched.

Even if YouTube Music was a flawless example of music listening nirvana, it still leaves the the artist no incentive to upload anything more than the audio file and the album cover art.

I don’t know what it is, but when it comes to music, YouTube consistently gets it wrong.  

Posted in Music Videos.