YouTube Announces Crowdfunding, Donations, Free Music

At the annual VidCon confabulation in Anaheim, California yesterday, YouTube's Susan Wojcicki unveiled a number of additions and features that the site will be adding over the coming months, including links to creators' crowdfunding projects, its own donation option, and a repository of music the site has licensed and will make available to creators for free.

The site will be integrating links, what they call "cards," to crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, IndieGogo, Patreon and Change.org, among others, giving creators an outlet apart from those sites' profile links to promote their particular projects. Alongside those links will be an option to donate to the creator directly through YouTube. Donations will be capped at $500, and can be as little as $1. It's possible this could dovetail into an "unlocking" system on the site as well.

The site has also launched Audio Library, a database of music and sound effects that video creators can integrate into their work free of charge. a representative from YouTube said the music and sound effects are "fully licensed and royalty-free" to creators. The video site Vimeo has a similar portal, its Music Store, with some songs available to license and others made free via creative commons licenses.

Another minor feature likely to make creators happy is a formalized system for crediting the people who worked on a video, allowing uploaders to link to those individuals' YouTube channels.

The announcements come on the back of YouTube's imminent music service, expected to launch sometime this year, the negotiations behind which have drawn significant criticism from the independent music sector.

To further its current focus, the company also announced on Thursday morning that it is collaborating with Sirius XM on the "YouTube 15" radio show, a countdown program on the digital radio network hosted by the YouTube-launched personality Jenna Marbles.

The Wrap quoted Wojcicki as saying that YouTube's three priorities this year are strengthening its music ties, generating revenue and growing its global audience (the last point addressed by another new feature: fan-submitted subtitles).


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