YouTube as a Creative Industry: A Loophole to Success

YouTube is usually associated with cat videos, funny grandmother-dancing clips, or compilations of the worst skateboarding accidents. The site’s intent was to create a space to make sharing and viewing videos easy and accessible. It was never intended to be a place where people could make money simply by putting out amateur content. However, the site has lent itself to filmmakers, videogame players and designers, artists, and even to those looking to market products. YouTube is a resource for entering the creative industry.

As Davies and Sigthorsson point out, creative industries come with a level of uncertainty and risk. Many people working in CIs don’t have a permanent job. Some are employees, many others are freelancers or portfolio workers. YouTube has the potential to shorten the length of time Creatives are stuck in the position of freelancer or portfolio worker and offer more job security. While creators aren’t necessarily being paid or employed by YouTube, the site lends itself as a stepping stone to reach bigger and more affluent companies. “New technologies have made production and distribution without access to the official media gatekeepers much easier to achieve…online video platforms such as Vimeo, Youtube and the like enable small filmmakers to use social networking sites to reach an audience that was previously inaccessible” (Davies & Sigthorsson, 115). By using YouTube, creators are able to find ways to skirt around the traditional methods of becoming a part of the creative industry.

Annoying Orange, is channel created by Dane Boedigheimer. His idea was simple: a talking piece of fruit, relaying jokes. Because of YouTube’s accessibility to a wide audience, the channel gained popularity and was eventually turned into a television show on Cartoon Network, in 7 countries. Michelle Phan, a YouTube personality, created beauty videos in her home, uploaded them to YouTube, and has created a successful career for herself. Phan has teamed up with cosmetic companies, such as Lancome and L’Oreal to create and market beauty products. She also helped found the company, Ipsy, which gaining $150 million in revenue. Lastly, Shay Butler, under the alias, ShayTards, can be considered one of the most successful YouTube personalities online. He created a video blogging channel and a second channel, filled with skits and videos of a higher production value. Through the success of these two YouTube channels, Butler has been able to create his own clothing line, gaming channel, cartoon series, and become an executive producer for the film, Vlogumentary. He also is a co-founder of Maker Studios, a company whose main purpose is to help produce and provide resources for YouTube channels. Maker Studios was recently bought by the Walt Disney Company for $500 million.

While it’s not guaranteed that every channel on YouTube will have the same success level, the site may be a valuable place to market content, products, and the creator. There are more success stories emerging from YouTube channels and by investing into this video-sharing platform, it may lead to opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be achieved by using the traditional methods of gaining access to creative industries.

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