As TikTok eats the world, YouTube makes a show to win the hearts and wallets of creators

Gathered in the company Historic Spruce Barn On Tuesday morning, a group of YouTube leaders laid out a roadmap for the platform’s evolving relationship with both video creators and the music industry, announcing new monetization tools and industry partnerships in the cavernous event space where Howard Hughes once built a massive wooden plane.

But while CTOs seemed excited to lay out their plans for it The future of the creative economyThey were much more reticent to acknowledge the huge expansion of the industry which over the past few years has taken a huge role from the online video platform: TikTok.

In fact, the Google subsidiary’s “Made on YouTube” press event lasted about an hour before anyone explicitly mentioned TikTok — and even then, it was an audience member, during the question-and-answer period, who first named the elephant in the room .

TikTok, owned by Chinese technology company ByteDance, is largely responsible for promoting the short video format that YouTube is now using, along with other imitators, through its short video platform. And while shorts are becoming a serious competitor to TikTok – YouTube recently claimed 1.5 billion viewers per month, on par with where TikTok is expected to be – the medium is still pretty much synonymous with its flagship.

“We have always worked in a very competitive market,” he said. Tara and Albert LevyVP of YouTube Americas and Global Content, in response to a reporter’s question about TikTok’s continued expansion in the United States, including Los Angeles. “Our approach has always been… that we want to be a home for content creators.”

It was a point to which the leadership of the company returned again and again. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a video that the company is “doubling its capacity [its] A commitment to empowering creators.” Neil Mohan, Chief Product Officer, described creators as “the heart of YouTube.”

The big ads of the day seemed geared toward refining this creator-centric approach — and with YouTube scaling back its written content ambitions, a renewed focus on user-generated videos aligns with the company’s broader trajectory.

A change will soon allow short film creators to reach 10 million views within 90 days Apply for membership In the YouTube Partner Program, a revenue-sharing model the company launched in 2007 to give creators some revenue from advertising Serve around their content. (Short film creators were previously paid out of a $100 million fund based on engagement metrics, not advertising revenue.)

Mohan said revenue sharing from short films “is the first time that real revenue sharing for short-form video on any platform has been offered on a large scale,” adding that revenue from ads played between short films will be pooled together and paid to short film creators and used. Also to cover the cost of a music license.

Mohan said the short film creators will keep 45% of the funds. For longer videos, this reduction has historically been 55%; YouTube leaders have attributed the downsizing of the short films, in part, to an effort to maintain the sustainability of the program.

Another change will add a new level to the Partner Program, allowing creators with smaller fan bases to continue making money from their fans through features such as membership programs.

As the creators’ economy continues to grow and digital artists demand better and fairer ways to make money, YouTube ads indicate that the company believes short filmmakers will have a big role in the company’s future — and perhaps also this one that is driving them away from TikTok is a business necessity.

It’s a move that capitalizes on the goodwill YouTube already has among some creators. In January, a video of vlogger Hank Green went viral after him positive comparison YouTube’s revenue-sharing model with TikTok’s Creator Fund, which is a steady pool of money that the company splits among the top creators.

Greene said at the time that TikTok’s approach is a “big hole in the creator economy,” because with a fixed amount of money, the payouts per person decrease as the number of eligible creators increases. (Tik Tok announced later Its revenue-sharing platform, TikTok Pulse, which was more in line with the YouTube model.)

Tuesday’s event also saw the company announcing a new infrastructure to help creators of feature-length videos integrate licensed music into their content — with singer-songwriter Jason Derulo on deck explaining how close collaboration between artists and creators benefits both.

“Biggest problem [with tapping into social media fan bases] “It’s always been the rights,” Derulo said, wearing a red jacket covered in Marvel-inspired patches. “From the artist’s point of view: I want my music to be heard. I want my music to be on your page.”

Historically, YouTubers have had to forgo ad revenue if they incorporated licensed music into their videos, said Amjad Hanif, YouTube’s vice president of product management and creator products. Through the company’s new platform, Creator Music, Hanif said, creators will soon be able to browse songs and then either directly license them or enter into a revenue-sharing agreement with the original musicians.

According to Derulo, it’s a move that signals how the entertainment industry as a whole will evolve in the era of online celebrities.

“When I was growing up, a lot of people had Britney Spears on their wall, or NSYNC,” the singer said. “But now… they might have Bryce Hall or Jake Paul.

“The contemporary rock star has changed,” Derulo continued.

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