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YouTube has been doing a lot of damage control over the last year, and trying to figure out better ways to promote good creators and filter out “bad actors.” But one new move seems a bit counterintuitive.
According to a Bloomberg report, promoted creators are being asked to sign non-disparagement agreements in exchange for promotion on the site, and YouTube has “given a handful of musicians a couple hundred thousand dollars to produce videos and promoted their work on billboards.” YouTube is trying to beef up its music-industry connections in advance of its upcoming music subscription service, internally titled Remix, set to debut in March. This week it announced it’s merging Vevo musician channels into one single account for artists.
Bloomberg’s source did not go into detail but claimed these non-disparagement agreements go deeper than asking artists to not criticize YouTube. The source also claimed YouTube makes creators of original YouTube Red series agree to the terms. While non-disparagement agreements are often used in the workplace, it’s less common to see them used among YouTube’s competitors.
This news comes after YouTube changed the guidelines for monetization in an effort to filter out “spammers, impersonators, and other bad actors,” but wound up hurting smaller, newer channels.
We’ve reached out to YouTube for comment.
Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.