Tuesday, December 15, 2015

YouTube success can be a financial trap

Allison and I have turned down products for all kinds of reasons—the CEO made sexist comments; it isn’t something we’d really use, like beard oil—but it all comes down to pleasing the viewers. The con is loss of income, the pro is the trust of our fans.

Sometimes, this coveted intimacy can ding our bank accounts. In a 2013 speech, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger said the increase of knowledge about a performer’s life and beliefs due to social media has led to not being able to charge as much for concert tickets. Besides, he said, “most people do not want to think of their favorite singer as greedy,” he said. “Would you rather listen to a singer who is committed to social causes you identify with, or one who is only in it for the money?” If an artist—a YouTuber or Instagram star, for instance—is committed to championing the little guy, they can’t very well look like they’re taking money for their work.

YouTuber Anna Akana, fed up with comments calling her a “sellout,” posted a video in June explaining how without brand deals, YouTubers can’t survive. Akana has hit 1 million subscribers by creating a podcast, designing a clothing line, and yes, taking money for sponsored videos. Some fans understood and defended YouTubers needing to make money. Others vowed never to watch her again. It’s a terrifying risk whenever you post a branded video.
H/t Tyler Cowen.

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