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YouTube Music officially rolls out podcasts for listeners in the US

YouTube Music is officially adding podcasts to its platform in the United States on Android, iOS and the web. The rollout comes a few months after YouTube podcasting head Kai Chuk revealed that podcasts would be added to YouTube Music soon.
The update allows users watching podcasts on the main app to continue listening to them on YouTube Music. The company notes that all users can listen to podcasts on-demand, offline, in the background, and while casting and can seamlessly switch between audio-video versions on YouTube Music.
“This podcast listening experience is different from our music listening experience where you need a Premium or Music Premium subscription to enjoy some of these features,” the company wrote in a blog post. “This new podcast listening experience complements the podcast video experience on YouTube.”
Podcasts in YouTube Music will be available regardless of whether you have a YouTube Premium subscription. YouTube even notes that paying customers may encounter host-read endorsements or sponsorship messages when listening to podcasts on YouTube Music.
Image Credits: YouTube
YouTube is rolling out the update to all of its listeners in the United States gradually, which means not everyone may see it yet. The company said it plans to bring podcasts to YouTube Music to users outside the United States soon but didn’t provide any specific launch details.
The YouTube Music Home tab now includes a new “Podcasts” tab that takes you to a dedicated feed, which will display your favorite podcasts and recommended episodes.
YouTube is advising creators that if their podcast is audio-only, they should consider uploading a video with a static image or use audiograms or other dynamic video formats. The company notes that it will soon offer creators the option to directly upload their audio podcasts via RSS feeds to both YouTube and YouTube Music.
According to previous reports, YouTube isn’t looking to sign exclusive deals with podcasters, which has been a key strategy at Spotify. YouTube instead seems to be focused on melding the experience of listening to podcasts on video and audio.

YouTube Music contractors win historic union vote

YouTube Music officially rolls out podcasts for listeners in the US by Aisha Malik originally published on TechCrunch
YouTube Music officially rolls out podcasts for listeners in the US

YouTube continues to see ad revenue decline, 2.6% drop YOY

Alphabet reported Tuesday its latest earnings, citing that YouTube saw ad revenue fall 2.6% year over year as advertisers pulled back from the platform due to economic uncertainty. YouTube only raked in $6.69 billion in advertising revenue for the first fiscal quarter of 2023 compared to the $6.87 billion during the same period last year.
Despite the disappointing number, YouTube managed to slightly beat analysts’ expectations of $6.6 billion.
This is the third quarter in a row that YouTube’s ad revenue decreased. The downward sliding figures are a cause of concern for content creators, who look to ad revenue to earn income.
The company attempted to offer reassurance during Tuesday’s earnings call, choosing to focus on its success with the short-form video feature Shorts.
“Last year the number of channels that uploaded to Shorts daily grew over 80%. Those posting weekly on Shorts saw the majority of new channel subscribers coming from their Shorts posts,” Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet said.
As the platform experiences intense competition from rivals like TikTok, the company continues to focus on the Shorts to boost its growth. In November 2022, YouTube rolled out Shorts to smart TVs. Google announced in February that Shorts has reached 50 billion daily views.
“We’re seeing strong watch time, growth… monetization is also progressing nicely. People are engaging and converting on ads across Shorts at increasing rates,” added Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer.
YouTube also reiterated plans to ramp up its efforts to make YouTube more shoppable. The company partnered with Shopify last year to enable YouTubers and merchants to feature products on their channels.
“Shopping on YouTube… It’s still super early days. One highlight last year, we brought shopping to more creators and brands by partnering with commerce platforms like Shopify. Now more than 100,000 creators, artists and brands have connected their own stores to their YouTube channels to sell their products. We’re excited about the potential ahead,” Schindler said.
The company confirmed to TechCrunch in November that it plans to add shopping features to Shorts.
Overall, parent company Alphabet reported $69.8 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2023, a 3% increase from the same year-ago period.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki stepped down from her role in February, taking on an advisory role across Google and Alphabet. Neal Mohan, chief product officer, is the new CEO.
In January, Alphabet cut 6% of its workforce, which affected 12,000 employees.

YouTube Shorts begins testing shopping features and affiliate marketing

YouTube continues to see ad revenue decline, 2.6% drop YOY by Lauren Forristal originally published on TechCrunch
YouTube continues to see ad revenue decline, 2.6% drop YOY

YouTube relaxes controversial profanity and monetization rules following creator backlash

YouTube announced today that it’s relaxing the controversial profanity rules that it introduced toward the end of last year. The company says the new rules ended up creating a “stricter approach” than it had intended. The new update to the policy allows creators to use moderate and strong profanity without risking demonetization.
The original policy that was introduced back in November would flag any video that used profanity in the first 15 seconds of the video and make it ineligible for monetization, which meant that YouTube wouldn’t run ads on such videos. The change was retroactive and some creators said they had lost their monetization status as a result.
YouTube said back in January that it planned to modify the new rules.
Although the new relaxed rules don’t revert these changes back to the platform’s old policy, YouTube is making some changes that will allow creators to be eligible for limited ads if they use strong profanity within the first few seconds of a video. Under the November update, such videos would have received no ad revenue. The company also notes that video content using profanity, moderate or strong, after the first 7 seconds will be eligible for monetization, unless used repetitively throughout the majority of the video. Once again, such videos would have received no ad revenue under the November update.
YouTube said that it will re-review videos from creators who had their monetization affected by the November policy.
The company also clarified how profanity in music is treated, and noted that moderate or strong profanity used in background music, backing tracks, intro/outro music can now earn full ad revenue. Previously, such content would have received no ad revenue. In addition, the use of any profanity in titles and thumbnails will still be demonetized and cannot run ads, as was the case before the update in November.
The new policy goes into effect starting today. It’s worth noting that although the new policy doesn’t address all of the concerns that creators had and is still somewhat vague, it should make it easier for a big chunk of creators to continue monetizing their videos without having to make major changes.
It’s clear that YouTube is trying to make its massive trove of videos more age appropriate and advertiser friendly, but retrofitting new monetization rules onto a platform like YouTube is a delicate balance, as the past few months have shown.

YouTube plans to modify profanity rules that prompted creator backlash

YouTube relaxes controversial profanity and monetization rules following creator backlash by Aisha Malik originally published on TechCrunch
YouTube relaxes controversial profanity and monetization rules following creator backlash

YouTube launches its new commercial music licensing resource, Creator Music

YouTube today announced its new marketplace, Creator Music, is now fully open to all YouTube Partner Program participants in the U.S. First announced last September, the online destination offers a large catalog of songs that creators can browse, search through, and purchase where the terms of the music rights are spelled out in plain language, so creators can understand the costs involved. In addition to being able to purchase licenses, creators are also able to choose tracks offering revenue-sharing options where both creators and the rights holders earn money from the music’s use.
As the company explained last year, the issues around music rights have been a longtime pain point for creators.
When a creator today uses a song they don’t own, they end up having to give away all the ad revenue on their video to the music license holder. That means commercial music is often not used in YouTube videos, which hurts creators, their fans, as well as artists and songwriters.
With the launch of Creator Music, the idea is to simplify the process of licensing popular music. Through an online dashboard, creators can search for songs they have in mind or browse by collections, genres, or moods, then view the associated licensing costs. In addition, creators can search for tracks based on a budget they have set for their project.
Image Credits: YouTube
When they find an eligible track, creators can choose to either buy a license after reviewing the terms or opt into a rev share agreement. With the former, creators can check out and immediately download the song to add to their video while editing. If they don’t want to pay an upfront cost for the music’s use, they can choose a track with the rev share option instead.
This type of marketplace could benefit larger creators who more precisely want to control the costs associated with their productions, as well as smaller creators who haven’t historically been able to afford commercial music in their videos.
The new service doesn’t replace YouTube’s existing Audio Library of free tracks, however; it just provides another option. To continue to view free songs, including those from the Audio Library, creators can set the price filter to “$0” when searching across Creator Music.

As YouTube now increasingly competes with TikTok on short-form video, the need for better backing tracks for creators’ long-form video content has grown. TikTok’s embrace of popular music has led to the video app having a heavy influence over the Billboard charts and the top charts in streaming apps, as viral videos prompt more streams and music downloads. More recently, TikTok has been rumored to be expanding its own streaming music service as well — another market where YouTube operates. And as TikTok lengthens the max time for its videos, inching into YouTube territory, the Google-owned video site needed to remain competitive.
Of course, YouTube already offers popular music for use on Shorts through its Shorts Music Library, but many of those same songs wouldn’t have been viable for use on YouTube itself until now because of their associated costs and rights.
At launch, YouTube said it was working with indie partners, including Empire, Believe, Downtown, and Merlin. It hasn’t announced any partnerships with the majors at this time.
The Creator Music project was introduced last fall alongside other larger YouTube initiatives, including its plan to monetize Shorts and revamp its Partner Program to include a new Shorts-specific threshold of 1,000 subscribers and 10 million Shorts views over 90 days. 
While Creator Music was gradually launched to YPP creators in the U.S., the company says it’s now fully available to that group. YouTube says it aims to bring the service to more countries over time and expand the music options for non-YPP creators as well.
YouTube launches its new commercial music licensing resource, Creator Music by Sarah Perez originally published on TechCrunch
YouTube launches its new commercial music licensing resource, Creator Music

NFL considers a cheaper Sunday Ticket offering on YouTube with fewer games

YouTube recently became the exclusive streaming rights holder of NFL Sunday Ticket, a sports package that was reportedly bid on by other tech giants Apple and Amazon. While YouTube will likely charge a high price for the NFL Sunday Ticket, there may be a more affordable YouTube offering for viewers that want access to fewer games.
According to NFL’s chief media and business officer, Brian Rolapp, the league is considering a “lighter” NFL Sunday Ticket offering on YouTube and YouTube TV that provides a select number of games for a lower price.
“We’re also thinking about, but haven’t made any decisions, do you create a new product? Do you do a lighter version? We haven’t made any decisions there, but you will see that. I don’t know if we’ll go team-by-team, but could you get fewer games for a lesser price? I think that’s all up for debate and conversation,” Rolapp revealed to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand and Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand in their podcast.
Rolapp noted that one reason the NFL struck a streaming deal with YouTube is so the league could make new changes to the Sunday Ticket product. “It’s been distributed for so long. I think there’s probably a lot of opportunity between the ‘all you can eat’ and free television. I think there’s a lot of room there to explore.”
YouTube wasn’t immediately available to comment to TechCrunch.
NFL Sunday Ticket is launching on YouTube and YouTube TV later this year. The company confirmed that it would be available as an add-on package on YouTube TV as well as a standalone offering on YouTube Primetime Channels. Notably, this will be the first time that Sunday Ticket will be available à la carte for viewers.
While pricing details haven’t been announced, it will probably be expensive. NBC Sports reported that “a TV person” estimated that NFL fans would have to pay around $300 per season for Sunday Ticket. DirecTV charges its customers $293.94 per season or $395.94 for the NFL Sunday Ticket Max package with extra content.
YouTube has to pay approximately $2 billion per season for the rights, The Wall Street Journal reported. For comparison, DirecTV paid $1.5 billion.
In Alphabet’s fourth-quarter earnings call, Google’s Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler mentioned plans to launch a feature on YouTube TV that allows viewers to watch on multiple screens at once. He added that YouTube TV customers would get new features specific to the Sunday Ticket experience, such as comments, chats and polls.
Updated 2/10/23 at 3:55 p.m. with correction to DirecTV prices.

YouTube secures NFL Sunday Ticket in landmark streaming deal

NFL considers a cheaper Sunday Ticket offering on YouTube with fewer games by Lauren Forristal originally published on TechCrunch
NFL considers a cheaper Sunday Ticket offering on YouTube with fewer games