The One With Youtube, Art and the very first interview on the blog.

Hands up if you watch videos on Youtube?

Mean Girls Raise Hand GIF

Yeah, I thought so. Well, there are some things you might want to know…

If you’ve ever wondered why Youtube pops those ads on in the beginning or middle of the video you’re trying to watch which is annoying and maybe even awkward especially if you’re using it for music at a party, it’s because they have advertising partnerships with companies.

However recently, Youtube has decided to make changes to its policy, regarding who can get paid for advertising. There are now stricter criteria you must meet in order to still be a partner. You have to have 1,000 subscribers and you need to have a total of 4,000 annual watch hours (which means people have to watch your videos for a total of 4,000 hours per year). That’s a lot. I should clarify that the money earned by creators is not a sizeable amount but when you’re a creator, every cent counts. Youtube has given smaller channels who were previously eligible for payment a month’s grace period to meet the new criteria.

The idea behind it is to make the pool of Youtube creators smaller, making it easier for Youtube to control ads appearing on inappropriate videos such as the stunt pulled by creator Logan Paul earlier this year.    Basically, advertisers don’t want their company appearing to condone or associate with inappropriate content.

That’s enough of the technical jargon for now. If you’re still with me, I salute you. Now I want to talk to an Internet friend of mine, the supremely talented Abel (aka SnazzyStarlight) about her channel and how she’s affected by all of this.

Through the magic of Tumblr and timezones, Abel and I conducted a short interview earlier today which began with me asking her to explain what she uses her Youtube channel for.

Her response was clear; “I use my channel both to help promote my art, and to provide additional content to those who found my art through other platforms.”

You may have noticed that both in the Instagram photo above and in answering my question, Abel refers to her art – paintings. Now I’ll forgive you if you’re conjuring up acrylic or oil landscapes and portraits but that’s not Abel. The subject of her art is a universal language no matter who we are – MUSIC.

See, Abel has a condition called synesthesia which causes her to see music visually (Lorde and a few other famous musicians have this as well) At only 18 years old she’s been running a shop for the past two years which sells paintings of songs as they appear to her.

“With my process, I listen to the song as I paint. Depending on the song, it can take one run through, or it can take ten. I’m getting better at arranging it more intuitively after so much practice at it,but sometimes it can take a while.”

It’s pretty cool, right? I think so. Abel uses pretty much every social media platform she can but finds Youtube super helpful because,  “on YouTube, you’re on camera. It’s easier to show who you are and to make a real connection with people.” It also gives people insight into the physical process of creating art which is a major draw for getting customers into the shop, based in Owasso, Michigan but you can find the online store here .

She says the best things to come out of the shop so far have been meeting other incredible creators and getting to work for people I admire. In the future, I want to continue that, and get to a point where I can help others more.”

That might be about to get a little harder…

Under previous Youtube guidelines, anyone could get paid so Abel who’s been making videos casually for the past year and a half or so was getting money here and there. She is quick to acknowledge during our interview that it was nowhere near  being a main income source but that it was starting to look like a healthy amount of extra money (this gets put into perspective when you consider that the shop allowed Abel to pay for her books and the first year of tuition at college)

Art is her livelihood so in order to support herself, she needs every avenue possible and just when it was starting to look plausible that Youtube would be one of those, they’ve taken it away. The new rules I mentioned earlier save the face of advertisers and I suppose Youtube’s overall reputation as a company but they really hurt the little channels, the creators who rely on it as a means of both spreading the word and making a little extra so they don’t have to worry as much. Abel’s channel SnazzyStarlight meets the required 1000 subscribers but is about 3400 hours* away from the 4000-hour mark with exactly a month to reach that target.

*It should be noted that this does not take into account the past 48 hours as analytics takes a while to update. During this period, the channel has been updated with more videos and live streams so the total watch time has hopefully increased a little*


There are probably a ton of other Youtubers that you all love who are affected by this problem. If you want to help Abel and/or any others, there are two simple steps you can follow:

  1. Put their videos on in the background while you do other things (Abel’s in particular are nice because they involve music)
  2. Share this post. Tell other people what’s going on. Contact your favourite creators. Get behind them. Spread the word.

A huge thank you to Abel for letting me interview her today. I really hope this helps. It’s a little bit different to what I normally post but I’ve used Youtube before myself and it’s an important platform for sharing, creating and learning.

Learn something new for me.

❤ Hannah

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