-22855 Mulholland Hwy. Calabasas, CA 91302-

Calabasas Courier Online

-22855 Mulholland Hwy. Calabasas, CA 91302-

Calabasas Courier Online

-22855 Mulholland Hwy. Calabasas, CA 91302-

Calabasas Courier Online

Opinion: YouTube’s business model stifles creators

Opinion%3A+YouTube%E2%80%99s+business+model+stifles+creators
Caitlin Brockenbrow

On Jan. 9, YouTuber Matthew Patrick (known online as MatPat) announced his retirement from YouTube after 13 years as a creator, having reached over 41.94 million subscribers across five channels in that time. But he is not the first to go. In the past few months, Tom Scott, Papa Meat (Hunter Hancock), CaptainSparklez (Jordan Maron) and Seth Everman retired or announced an indefinite leave from YouTube, with many more making a similar decision in the years prior. The question is: why?

Unlike similar professions such as acting, being a YouTuber means consistently and endlessly producing content, lest you become irrelevant. Unsurprisingly, this can lead to creator burnout and understandable frustration at how the platform functions. On top of all of this, YouTube videos are often seen as lesser forms of art in comparison to movies and television, meaning these creators not only have to work more often and for longer, but they also get less recognition than traditional celebrities, not to mention the financial differences.

In addition to the unstable way in which creators get paid for their work on YouTube, they also have to blindly contend with the greed of the business world. Time and time again, creators get caught in shady industry deals, one of the most notable being the 2018/2019 Defy Media scandal in which the multi-channel network, among other accusations, took earnings and mistreated many of the top creators it managed. YouTubers are not businessmen, something greedy corporations know very well, and yet they have to act as such to support themselves. While these are not problems that YouTube directly created, the platform is anything but innocent in its impact on creators.

YouTube Shorts launched in the U.S. in 2021 to, just like all other social media platforms did, compete with TikTok. The YouTube algorithms’ sudden emphasis on short-form videos forces YouTubers to completely change how they make their content. This switch, something that some creators simply do not have the time or resources to keep up with, also means YouTubers get paid even less for their content due to the way YouTube Shorts’ monetization functions. The underlying issue with short-form content like this is that it removes the existence of fanbases. Video feeds like YouTube Shorts, TikTok and Instagram Reels create a passive audience that watches content randomly, not one that seeks out their favorite creator, as seen with the lack of attendance at VidCon 2023. However, YouTube Shorts is not the only thing killing content creation.

Some of the most popular content created on YouTube all have the same basic concept: trying every of something, going to every location of a place, giving away an obscene amount of money, etc. They are all videos that showcase a lavish amount of stuff. These are the kinds of long-form videos that the YouTube algorithm promotes. This may seem like an easy genre, but as more and more videos are created in this style, there is a need for greater extravagance. There has to be more money to give away, more places to travel to, more stuff to buy: it is unsustainable. Content becomes increasingly more expensive to produce and as each of these videos just becomes a dime a dozen, they will likely get watched less and less. With all of this considered, in 2024, who would even want to be a YouTuber?

These are not unknown issues; many creators, MatPat included, have talked about their personal experiences with these problems and many others. There is no easy way to solve the massive issue that is YouTube and social media as a whole, but that does not mean the situation should go unrecognized. And to all the creators across YouTube, Twitch and every platform to come: thank you.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Calabasas Courier Online
$400
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Calabasas High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Caitlin Brockenbrow, Perspectives Editor
Hi! My name is Caitlin Brockenbrow, and I'm the Perspectives editor this year. Last year I was a staff writer and before that, I was head editor of my middle school newspaper and magazine for two years. Apart from articles, in my free time, I write creatively—mainly murder mysteries. English has always been my favorite subject, but besides reading and writing, I love theater, typewriters and drinking root beer floats.
Donate to Calabasas Courier Online
$400
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

Leave any comments or suggestions
All Calabasas Courier Online Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *