YouTube’s Partner Program has been hailed as revolutionary since it launched in May of 2007. At the time YouTube was seen more as a social network than an entertainment platform. The Partnership changed all that, rewarding video makers for their creativity and eventually giving rise to a class of professional content creators who earn all or most of their living producing videos. In many ways the partner program changed the way we think about the people who produce content online.
Unfortunately it looks like those days are over. YouTube has announced plans to shut down the partner program as of April 1st.
The news will likely come as a surprise to the thousands of individuals who earn their living off YouTube. Creators were apparently caught off guard by the news which was announced with little fanfare as part of cost cutting measures at the video giant. According to a spokesman the partner program has been slashed in order to fund bigger payouts for musical artists on YouTube’s long awaited Music Key streaming service. Competition from Spotify and major artist backed Tidal have left YouTube with little alternative but to pull ad revenue from their popular video site to boost their offers to musicians.
Creators are, of course, stunned. “I’ve been working my whole life on YouTube,” said one young beauty vlogger who declined to be named. “Looking excited about new body lotion? Getting the perfect smokey eye on the first attempt!? THESE SKILLS AREN’T EXACTLY TRANSFERABLE!” she wailed, tears blurring her flawlessly applied mascara.
Others are taking the news more in stride. “I mean, I’m basically a TV star now so who needs that noise anyway?” said a certain blonde comedienne on her way to tape her upcoming late night show.
Top YouTubers are likely to do all right. The rise of competing platforms like Vessel and the willingness of long time YouTube competitors like Vimeo to shell out top dollar for YouTube minted stars means that most of your top 200 faves will make a fairly smooth transition. As for everyone else, YouTube Spaces in New York and LA are offering a series of classes on topics like panhandling, applying for unemployment benefits, and committing insurance fraud. YouTubers are encouraged to sign up now as spaces are limited.
Share the article and let us know which creators you’ll miss the most now that they’re being plunged into abject poverty.