In 2016, online-video star Hank Green – who also co-founded the VidCon conference – launched the Internet Creators Guild (ICG). It was a body to advise and represent creators – the equivalent for influencers of what bodies like the Featured Artists Coalition do for musicians. Three years on, the ICG is shutting down, and some of its reasons are worth noting.
“What we haven’t seen, unfortunately, is a path to financial stability for the organisation,” explained an email to members. Another problem: “Our relationships with platforms often yielded positive results, contributing to constructive discussions around the state of creators and the industry. However, these platforms often required us to not discuss these relationships as a condition of having these conversations. This limited our ability to be transparent and demonstrate the value of our work to members.”
It’s not just music-licensing discussions where non-disclosure agreements cause controversy, then. The ICG also took a final swing at the music industry. “Record labels receive 70% of every dollar spent on YouTube Premium. YouTube and content creators then split the remaining 30%,” it claimed. “Creators still make more money from a view from a YouTube Premium subscriber than an ad-supported view, but if record labels were not taking such a lion’s share of the revenue, we believe Premium could have been game changing for many creators. This is unfair and infuriating, and we believe it has only happened because record labels stand in solidarity with each other and can hold YouTube hostage. This is one of the many reasons collective action is necessary in our space…”