Way back in the olden days—that is, in 2007—YouTube launched the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), allowing creators to receive money for ads viewed during their videos. The program was a turning point for social media platforms, enabling creators to make money simply by posting quality content and building a following.
Fast forward 15 years and ad revenue on YouTube is booming. Over the last three years, the company has paid more than 2 million creators in the YPP a total of $50 billion. But the landscape of the creator economy has also grown and evolved . Between new features on YouTube—from streaming to Shorts—and wider competition for user attention, some important updates were in order for monetization on YouTube.
As a result, in 2023, YouTube is introducing some changes to how creators earn via YouTube ads, as well as offer a new way to use music in videos. Here’s everything you need to know.
1. Shorts will make you more consistent cash
When YouTube announced the Shorts Fund, the plan was to reward select creators with bonus payments for high-performing videos. But with a total budget of $100 million—and a maximum bonus of $10,000—the cash was bound to run out eventually.
Plus, the initiative didn’t offer creators the same consistency as revenue-sharing on long-form videos. “If you’re trying to build your business, a fund doesn’t give you the confidence of a paycheck you’ll get month after month,” said Amjad Hanif, a YouTube exec, in an interview with YouTuber Roberto Blake.
But now, YouTube’s updated monetization program for Shorts gives creators a lot to be excited about: Creators in the YPP will be eligible to receive revenue from their Shorts. Each month, the program will distribute 45% of total ad revenue from Shorts to creators, proportionate to the number of views each Short receives. Rather than only rewarding the most successful videos, this incentive will give more creators a consistent share of revenue.
Previously only available to long-form creators, the YPP is now open to creators that exclusively post Shorts, too. Starting in early 2023, the YPP requirements are: 1,000 subscribers and either 4,000 public watch hours on long-form videos in a year or 10 million public Shorts views in 90 days. These changes make Shorts a much more appealing avenue of growth for novice creators on YouTube.
2. A new tier of YPP will make it easier to make money
Since the YPP was created, new revenue streams for creators have proliferated. One of the best sources of income for smaller creators is fan funding, which on YouTube takes the form of Super Chat, Super Thanks, Super Stickers, and channel memberships.
Previously, creators had to join the YPP to take advantage of fan funding. But in 2023, YouTube will offer a new tier that opens up access to fan funding (but not ad revenue), with less stringent requirements for creators to join.
Though details haven’t yet been announced, this program will provide many more opportunities for newer YouTubers to make money.
3. Have your music and ad income, too
Longtime creators know that monetizing YouTube content with music can be tricky. Even if you have rights to use certain music, you might not be able to make money off a video that includes it unless you’ve paid for the right kind of licensing.
This set of rules means that most videos with music aren’t eligible for ad revenue—and the complexity of copyright law can lead to confusion. This past summer, YouTube mistakenly shut down the French YouTuber Lofi Girl—which provides a 24/7 livestream of background music to nearly 12 million subscribers—due to a falsified copyright claim.
In 2023, a new page called Creator Music in YouTube Studio will make music licensing and monetization easier and less risky. Creators will be able to pay to license music for use in long-form videos directly through YouTube. Using this feature will help creators avoid the complexities of copyright law—and actually make ad money from videos that use music.
In the new Shorts revenue-sharing program, some ad revenue will also go toward music licensing. As a result, creators can use licensed music in Shorts without paying for it. All creators will be able to make the same amount of money from their Shorts views, regardless of whether they use licensed music.
As YouTube continues to evolve and develop new opportunities for creators, these latest changes will make it much easier for newbies to cash in on the platform’s money-making potential. The shifts will also address the difficulties of using music—a staple of great online content—while trying to build a side hustle on YouTube.
In the long run, these ad changes will lead to more consistent revenue for creators that decide to seize the opportunity: More revenue, more consistently, for more creators. We love to see it.