YouTube Creator Academy

Some good news for YouTube and its community of ‘creators’ yesterday: the launch of the YouTube Creator Academy, a set of online courses that will teach people how to get big (and make money) on YouTube. 32k people have signed up for the first one: ‘Maximize Your Channel’. But as that course launched, the debate about whether YouTube channels can be the basis for a sustainable media business was also sparking up again, after a post from Silicon Valley entrepreneur Jason Calacanis about why he’s considering taking his video channels off YouTube. Despite being offered more funding from YouTube to continue growing the channels, Calacanis criticises the “absurd 45% YouTube tax” – referring to the revenue-share demanded by the company in return for funding original channels – as well as “a lack of marketing support” and “no direct sales force at YouTube”. But he makes a wider point that’s relevant to any musician or label using YouTube for marketing, which is that as things stand, YouTube owns data on YouTube users. “Content creators don’t have the email addresses of their individuals, just the ability – for now – to get on their YouTube home page,” he writes, suggesting that channel owners should be using YouTube to drive fans elsewhere – an argument we’ve seen in the music marketing world about Facebook and Twitter. “Every time you invest $1 in YouTube, you’re building their power base and leverage over you. How can you invest that $0.66 of that dollar in an asset you control? At least then you might have a fighting chance over Goliath.”

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