A question we’re often asked in the YouTube realm is whether it’s better to block or monetize user-generated content (UGC) in order to optimize an official music video. When UGC is being monetized, it means that a claim has been applied on behalf of a copyright holder who can now see stats and collect revenue on that video, while a block would make that video unviewable. In the vast majority of cases, our answer is “monetize,” and here’s why:
UGC videos help people discover new music. A viewer might see a random cat video, hear your song in the background, and just like that — you’ve got a new fan! If the only option for a viewer is an official video on an artist’s YouTube channel, he is far less likely to stumble upon your awesome track. Consider UGC like free promotion, which can have a positive impact not only on your YouTube business, but on your sales as well.
UGC can be incredibly entertaining and provides viewers a greater variety of videos to watch. We know the official music video is awesome, but viewers will only watch it so many times. UGC can offer a new and refreshing option to hear that same song time and time again.
Let users express their fandom. Users often use the audio of bands and artists they love in their videos. It’s only natural! Encourage them to share their love for you by allowing their videos to remain viewable. It’ll mean both a wider presence and a happy fan — win/win.
UGC and official videos can coexist to result in more revenue than one video alone. In most cases, a UGC video is a supplement to an official video, not a replacement. The likelihood of UGC detracting from your views is generally higher only when there’s an exact replica of your video — and these can always be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Next time you’re weighing the pros and cons of monetizing UGC using your audio, think about that song or artist you discovered while watching a YouTube Fails compilation, or that guilty pleasure proposal video you sent to all of your friends and coworkers on Monday morning.