Following the lead of live streaming platform Twitch, YouTube, is test driving a new feature known as ‘Applause’ which allows users to more directly support creators through micro-transactions.
Following the lead of Twitch and similar live-streaming platforms, YouTube will soon allow viewers to support content creators directly.
YouTube is the largest video platform in the world, and it often ranks as the most popular service for music and content discovery. However, the service has repeatedly come under fire for its notoriously low royalty payments. YouTube pays less per view than Spotify, Tidal, or Apple Music pays per song stream. It pays less than virtually anyone, in fact, but the company is testing a new tool that may offer relief to content creators.
Applause, which is now in the testing phase of release, allows views to contribute to content creators directly. The idea is very similar to the micro-transactions available to viewers of Twitch streams. On that platform, Twitch viewers can purchase ‘bits’ with real money. Viewers can spend bits in a variety of ways. Creator channels can offer custom emojis, special channel statuses, and more for bits. Twitch pays creators one cent for every bit they earn from their viewers in a month.
Youtube’s Applause is less transparent. It is unclear how much creators make off the contributions to their channel, which is upsetting creators currently involved in the testing phase of the product rollout. It’s clear YouTube hopes this development will off-set criticism for its royalty payments, but the company will first need to provide clarity on the exchange rate.
Australia, Brazil, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, and the USA are on the beta test shortlist. You may see an ‘Applaud’ button under participating content creator videos. Clicking the button offers a pop-up to see how much an applause costs. The U.S. pop-up appears to offer a standard $2 donation option.
There are no limits on the number of donations or Applause that can be given to a single video. YouTube also guarantees that personal details are not shared with the creator and are not made public. That seems rife for abuse, right?
Purchase limits for the YouTube Applause feature are in place to prevent abuse. Users can only spend $500 a day or $2000 per week Super Chats, Super Stickers, and Applause. These payments are tips to the creator and cannot be refunded.
James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.