Author Lindsay Buroker, one of the genuinely nicest people in indie publishing, began loading some of her audiobooks onto YouTube in 2020.
Buroker has a substantial following. She quickly racked up subscribers and views, and her channel received monetization approval. Buroker soon reported that she was earning more from YouTube views on her audio content than she was earning on some audiobook platforms.
Then (see above Twitter thread) YouTube demonetized Buroker because her audiobooks aren’t “original content”.
Of course, YouTube still reserves the right to run ads on her videos. Buroker just won’t receive any share of the revenue. Buroker has said that she’ll likely leave the first-in-series audiobooks up as lead magnets, and take down the rest.
There are two sides to this, as there are to most things.
On one hand, YouTube provides a completely FREE video-hosting platform. Uploading videos to YouTube is not only FREE, but also easy and frictionless. Unless you’re posting something inflammatory, sexual, or sensational, you can post pretty much anything you want to.
That said, all social media is essentially about digital sharecropping, from a content and monetization perspective. This includes YouTube (though YouTube does at least provide something valuable for free).
The takeaways are:
1.) On the Internet, if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product.
2.) YouTube is still a good place to help build your brand. But it is not a reliable place to build your business.