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A popular music-based YouTube channel with nearly 900,000 subscribers said the platform is now preventing it from making money on its content.
The two who run the channel for Sheet Music Boss—which has 864,000 subscribers and which describes itself as a channel that makes “fun piano content”—uploaded a video on Friday saying YouTube has demonetized their channel because of “repetitious content.”
According to the YouTube guidelines in its message to Sheet Music Boss, the platform said repetitious content is “content that appears mass-produced in order to increase views without adding significant educational or other value.”
The creators aren’t sure why YouTube flagged the channel, though they wondered if it was because they use a black background with green and blue notes in nearly every video.
“We spend a lot of time making this stuff ….” they said. “Everything is manual. There’s no repetitive content. It feels like YouTube might be going after these channels that upload kind of automatically generated content, and we got caught in the crossfire for that.
“This is our full-time job. This is the main thing for us. It’s a huge kick in the face.”
The duo reached out to YouTube on Twitter, and eventually, YouTube said it would review the matter.
Since your channel was demonetized for repetitious content, this means it isn't original and doesn't add any significant educational or other value. More details here: https://t.co/Ha6G8a3LCi. Also, you can make changes to your content and re-apply in 30 days.— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) February 15, 2019
Thanks for the additional context about your channel--we've passed this along to our monetization team for further review.— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) February 15, 2019
YouTuber TheFatRat—who has had plenty of issues with YouTube’s copyright claim system—weighed in on Twitter as well, writing, “It’s things like this that make ‘becoming a YouTuber’ less and less attractive. It takes years of hard work to build a channel from zero to a million subscribers and from one day to the other your income is taken away without any warning.”
The most distressing parts for Sheet Music Boss were that they got so little explanation for the apparent rules violation and because “the daily income we worked so hard to build is just suddenly gone without warning.”
Here’s the entire Sheet Music Boss video.
Now that the channel has been kicked out of the YouTube Partner Program, which allows the channel to earn ad revenue, it’ll have to wait until March 16 to reapply.
YouTube did not immediately respond to a Daily Dot request for comment on Friday afternoon.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.