YouTube Creators: Stay Indie Or Sign To A Studio?

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There will always be a good deal of hand wringing and teeth gnashing whenever the topic of YouTube “going corporate” is brought up. There has always been a stigma around artists selling out in any format. This is the reason why people were so vocal as soon as Facebook bought Instagram or Zynga bought OMGPOP. We all fear that the small, basement studios we love will have their creative spirits crushed by the demand to inject Pepsi and McDonalds advertising into their content.

With major studios like Revision3, Maker Studios and Big Frame steadily picking up YouTube’s top talent, the end of the indie creator is upon us. But, as YouTube continues to grow, is the fact that studios are poaching our favorite YouTube personalities such a bad thing?

Why You Should Stay Independent

The biggest selling point for artists to stay independent is freedom. Plain and simple, creators are free to create and distribute their work in anyway they see fit. You do not have to worry about appealing to any corporate advertisers and you won’t find yourself in a McDonald’s ad unless you want to. The moment your name goes on a contract, you are signing away a portion of your earnings as well as a small amount of creative freedom. That is not to say that all studios will immediately force you to wear a rainbow wig while singing a song about the McRib. But there is always a fair amount of give and take when working with executives and studios.

If you are all about creating art, on your own terms regardless of whether it is seen by ten or ten thousand people, I say stick independent.

Why You Should Sign To A Studio

On Maker Studio’s about page, they describe their studio saying, “Maker is developing sustainable programming and building large audiences on YouTube with over 80 million subscribers and 800 million monthly views across more than 500 channels.” That pretty much sums up the reasons why an artist could benefit from signing with a major studio. Exposure. Exposure is key if you are looking to make a living as a YouTube creator. Studios have the funds and resources that will give you a leg up on your competition. Letting studios handle your distribution and promotion also frees up much more of your time to actually create content. Even though you may lose the ability to be your own boss, working with a studio can allow you to reach millions of screens worldwide.

If you are looking to turn your time on YouTube from a hobby to a profession, studios might be the answer you are looking for.

The battle between independent versus signed artists will rage on until machines become sentient and rule this earth. Until then, what side of the coin are you on? Make some noise below.

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