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Duration:03:57
Uploaded:2020-05-29
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Every time someone has approached us with an opportunity to put our content someplace new, we have been very wary and worried about it. Obviously, YouTube is not some virtuous non-profit, but moving off YouTube wouldn't just be something we were doing to our content, it would be something we were doing to /you/ and that still seems like some kind of betrayal. Only once I've watched people start to do it was I able to articulate why. This isn't something I feel like I could sell because it is not something I feel like I own.

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Good morning, John.  There comes a time in every top creator's career when somebody comes by with a really big check and says, Wow, you've built an amazing community on this platform.  We'd like you to move it to a different platform.  I fancy myself something of a creator advocate, so I am in favor of people getting paid.  I just think people should know for sure what they're getting paid for and there are lots of different things that you might be being paid for in situations like this.

The old school version of this, which is kind of where it all came from, is that a star builds up a career and over time, audiences gain an affinity for that star.  They know what to expect from that star, and they will go see a movie largely because that star is in it.  The first year of Andy in Parks & Rec, that goes well, then you get all buff and you become Peter Quill and then it continues to snowball and now you're the leading guy in Jurassic World.  Things are going well.

This is, I guess, fine.  Like, it feels like it kinda crowds out other people who might be playing those roles, but it's functionally how things work, and ultimately, Chris Pratt and the movie studios and the audiences are all doing the things they wanna do.  People are looking for a movie to go watch, and a familiar face is a nice door into that movie, but what if you're trying to bring people somewhere they're not used to going?  Well, this is why (?~1:15) and company spent over a billion dollars on content for Quibi, a new platform that provides quick bites of video that you can watch in less than ten minutes, thus solving a problem that absolutely no one on Earth has and also one that misunderstands the power of celebrity.

When deciding what movie to go see, a celebrity might inform that decision, but they're not gonna follow a celebrity to a new platform because people don't actually care very much about celebrities?  I don't think that this is necessarily bad though, like, I'm in favor of billionaires spending their money and it doesn't seem like it's hurting anyone and heck, maybe I'm wrong and it's gonna be successful, but the thing that I am more interested and more thoughtful about and more ambivalent about is when creators have really deep relationships with their audiences and they have existing projects and products that they then move the entire thing to a new platform and get paid to do that.  So they're doing it not because it provides a better service or a better experience for their audience, but just because they're being paid to do it.

This isn't about a celebrity lending their fame to a new project.  It's saying, like, I've built an audience, I have built a community, and you need people on your platform and so I will sell you my audience.  Like, in this case, you are selling those people, and that like, you need to be really careful.  Ninja getting paid to move to Mixer is about his audience.  It's about changing user behavior.  It's about buying market share with money, which is something that Microsoft has plenty of, and then also, hopefully, eventually drawing other smaller creators to that platform where a new audience is growing and those creators will not be compensated for that switch.

Spotfiy putting Joe Rogan and the last podcast on the left under exclusive licenses, this worries me more because in the case of Twitch vs. Mixer, it's Amazon vs. Microsoft, right, like, let 'em right it out, but with podcasts, you're taking content out of an open ecosystem that no one controls and putting it inside a closed ecosystem that is owned by a company, so Spotify's not paying to compete with another corporation.  They're paying to compete with an open standard of the internet which podcasting, somehow, despite all the odds, has so far held on to.  

I want to be clear that these situations aren't always bad and that yes, sometimes creators gotta get paid, but always as creators and as audiences, let's be honest about what's being sold.  What are the pieces here, the talent, the fame, the influence, the audience, the power?  All of that stuff has value whether or not it gets sold and it's up to each individual creator to decide what to do with that value.  For some people, it's writing books and making TikToks.  John, I'll see you on Tuesday.  I can't believe you made a TikTok and also I can't believe you have way more followers than me already.