With Facebook Live rolled out to all users, live streaming on social media has never been more present than it is now. Almost every social media is incorporating it in some way.
Instagram has live feeds, Twitter has live feeds, and now, so does YouTube. YouTube live streams are available to creators through the Creator Studio – if you have a verified account.
YouTube’s live streams work in a similar way to Facebook’s. There is a “Stream Now” button which allows you to go live immediately, and an “Events” button which allows you to preview the stream and otherwise have more control over it.
You also have the ability to chat with the live streamer and other users.
Recently, YouTube announced a feature that is supposed to allow creators to make more money. It’s called Super Chat.
Basically, Super Chat allows viewers to “pin” a comment on live streams, highlighting the comment for all to see and making it more likely that the streamer will see it and maybe respond to it.
If you are watching a live stream on YouTube, you’ll see a little “$” symbol in the chat window. You can click it, set your dollar amount and pin your comment.
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What Is Super Chat For Youtube?
Super Chat replaces Fan Funding. Previously, Fan Funding was the only way for viewers to pay creators for their work.
Google describes Super Chat as a “highlighted message in the chat stream that stands out from the crowd to get even more of your favorite creator’s attention.”
This gives people incentive to watch live streams, interact, and pay creators. It’s something of a win-win!
How Does It Work?
Comments are pinned to the top of the chat when you pay for them to be there. If you pay more, your comments will stay there longer – up to five hours.
The more you pay, the more you can say! Your characters are limited, but you get more characters the more you pay.
When there are too many comments and your comment gets pushed off the top, the creator can still see all the paid comments separately from the unpaid comments.
To give creators some control over their chat streams, YouTube allows you to moderate the chat. This means you can ban certain words and users who are harassing you or other users.
The service is designed to be used with a credit card and is non-refundable.
The service was launched for creators in 20 countries January 31st, but had been available to a few creators in beta before then.
How Can Musicians Use Super Chat?
Super Chat has great potential for musicians and any creator who is using YouTube to live stream. Imagine the possibilities!
For example, if you were live streaming a concert from your living room or rehearsal space, you could take requests in exchange for tips. You can turn an unpaid live stream into something that generates money.
Further, it would be easy to incorporate Super Chat into your crowdfunding campaign.
Hosting live streamed events can help you reach many viewers that might not otherwise be inclined to visit your crowdfunding page. You can use Super Chat to generate contributions towards your goal and simplify the process for fans.
Super Chat gives you access to a list of people that gave you money, so you could easily track them down and let them into the perks you are offering for your crowdfunding.
There are all sorts of contests you could hold using Super Chat. Have people guess the name of your new album and pin their answers to the top. Give the winner a sweet prize and reap the rewards.
Hold an auction on vintage merch and have people pin their bids!
With Super Chat, YouTube has given you a way to monetize something you’re already doing: live streaming. You might as well make the most of it.
Are There Any Drawbacks To Super Chat?
While Super Chat doesn’t really have any major issues, the biggest concern I would have would be trolls paying a small fee to pin something rude or vulgar to the top of my chat. I mean, at least I would be getting paid for it, but that could be annoying and embarrassing.
I would definitely make use of the ability to blacklist certain words, phrases, and even emojis. You can block everything from phrases to the middle finger emoji.
The other drawback I see is that it might take a while for the concept to catch on. I think it’s great that YouTube is giving creators more ways to make money, however it’s a very specific thing and there's a cap on how much money people can give.
The people who benefit most from this are creators that already have a very large following. That’s not to say that independents won’t benefit though. If you start brainstorming and thinking about it, you’ll be able to come up with some great ideas to connect with your fans and make money.
Is Super Chat The Future Of Live Streaming?
Super Chat is a step in an exciting direction for YouTube. When you think about it, without content creators, YouTube wouldn't even exist. YouTube owes it to their creators to help them monetize their work.
In the future, I would like to see this same philosophy applied to all networks. Facebook too should be allowing creators to monetize their viral videos, live streams, etc.
Of course, right now Facebook is mostly concerned about monetizing itself. But in order to keep creators on their platform, they will need to offer incentives.
I think YouTube’s creator-first model will put pressure on other social media outlets to treat creators with respect and allow them to make money on their platforms.
YouTube Super Chat is a step in the right direction, even if it isn't a major update. There is so much more they could be doing for their content creators as well as musicians that work so hard to get their music noticed on their platform. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come.