Applauding YouTube’s actions – not their motives

Late last week, YouTube made the announcement that they would begin cutting checks for some of their most noteworthy stars, and even though their motives might not be entirely admirable, I couldn’t be happier.

You Tube’s decision to share some of the wealth that the 1.6 billion dollar copyright infringement machine supposedly generates is a great step forward for niche content, in spite of the fact that the reasons behind it may be a little questionable. Reading between the lines in reports on the new initiative from the Tube themselves, as well as other outlets, sheds a bit of light on the potentially political motives behind the move.

As You Tube executives step to the mic to fill the media with their noble sentiments of sharing the wealth with their valued content producers, Viacom’s lawyers continue to plot the site’s downfall for failing to do exactly that. While this magnanimous gesture may all be a coincidence, it smells a little fishy to me. But as I said, if it took a billion dollar law suit to make YouTube cut the little guys a cheque, then so be it!
While and other smaller players had been sharing revenue with content providers for some time, having the big kid jump into the pool, whether for honourable reasons or not, sets a huge precedent. We’re now seeing, across the board, a greater acknowledgment of the importance of engaging niche online audience and this announcement makes this new reality even more apparent.
I’d like to think that YouTube’s entry into the paid content space will only mean more high quality, independently created content will begin to sprout up and continue to revolutionize the entertainment industry and the media industry as a whole. I just hope Chad Vader doesn’t let the money go to his head….