YouTube starts paying Shorts creators from its $100 million fund

It's the 10th way for creators to earn money on the platform.


In the last few years, many of the biggest social media companies have been throwing money at creators, trying to get them to embrace their platforms and bring loyal audiences to their apps. Earlier this year, YouTube announced a $100 million fund specifically to pay creators who use the platform's new Shorts format, which just came out of beta and rolled out to 100 countries last month. That fund is now live as of today, so the company is dropping more details on how you can get paid.

As YouTube announced earlier this year, the company plans to invite "thousands of eligible creators" to claim a payment from the program from now through 2022; YouTube is offering from $100 to $10,000, depending on how many people watch the Short as well as some other engagement metrics. Anyone posting shorts is theoretically eligible to get picked for a payment, not just creators who participate in the YouTube Partner Program (that's the program YouTube launched 14 years ago so that users could get paid for their content).

Naturally, there are a number of standards that these Shorts need to meet to be eligible. Most of them are pretty straightforward, like abiding by YouTube's community guidelines and copyright policies. YouTube also doesn't want people just re-uploading content they created for Snapchat or TikTok, so any Shorts with watermarks or logos from other social networks won't qualify. YouTube says it'll be awarding payments on a monthly basis so interested creators will be incentivized to keep making new Shorts.

While YouTube Shorts is a relatively new platform, TikTok has had a similar fund for its creators since 2020. It was announced as a $200 million fund, double what YouTube currently has budgeted for its Shorts fund, and those interested would have to submit their best work. But while TikTok's fund may be larger than this Shorts program, YouTube notes that it has nine other ways for its creators to monetize their content.

Not to be outdone, Facebook recently launched its own $1 billion program to lure creators to Instagram as well as its main service. Perhaps more significantly than the sheer dollar value is the fact that Facebook isn't going to collect a cut of creators' revenue through 2022, making a focus on the platform even more potentially lucrative. The size of this move is an admission from Facebook that it's a little behind the curve here; Instagram didn't offer any kind of revenue share until last year, in fact.

Between TikTok's massive influence and Facebook's massive war chest aimed at creators, YouTube is going to need to keep offering its users more ways to make cash — and the company knows it. Indeed, it said in today's news that the $100 million fund is the "first step" in its plans to monetize Shorts.