Tag Archives: YouTube

YouTube Music Lets Users Create Custom Radio Stations

YouTube Music is introducing a new radio experience that lets users create their own custom stations, the company told TechCrunch on Tuesday. Prior to the launch of this feature, users had started music listening experiences by picking from preexisting playlists, radios, or albums, but now users can create their own radios from the ground up.

According to TechCrunch, with this new experience, you can pick up to 30 artists when creating your own radio station. You can also choose how frequently these artists appear and apply filters that change the mood of the station. The experience lets you choose if you want the radio to include only the artists you’ve selected if you also want content from a broader set of similar artists as well. There’s also the option to refine your results further by using specific filters, such as “new discoveries” or “chill songs.”

Popular music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music offer radio features that allow users to create playlists based on a specific song or artists, but they don’t offer additional customization beyond that point. YouTube Music’s redesigned radio experience gives users a lot more flexibility than its competitors.

The Verge reported that the new YouTube feature, called the “Radio Builder,” started rolling our on Tuesday and can be accessed by scrolling to the “Your music tuner” section of the YouTube Music homepage in the iOS or Android app.

According to The Verge, when building your custom station, you can select up to 30 artists and choose whether you want to only hear music from them or if you want to pull in songs from similar musicians. You can also tell it to play songs that you’re familiar with, new-to-you songs, or a mix of the two and add filters, letting you tune the mix.

You can use the feature, which will be available anywhere you can get YouTube Music, whether you’re a paying subscriber or a free user, according to Google spokesperson Paul Pennington.

9to5Google reported that YouTube Music’s “Create a radio” feature lets you build stations “from the ground up, by combining key music building blocks such as artists and common music descriptions to whether the user wants songs that are discoveries, or chill songs, for example. This feature was spotted in testing at the end of last year.

From the Home feed, scroll until you find the “Create a radio” card that’s labeled as “Your Music Tuner.” You are then presented with an endless grid of artists, with the ability to pick 30. Afterward, you determine whether the “Song selection” – or “frequency of those artists” – should be: Familiar, Blend, or Discover.

9to5Google also reported that you have “Filters” for Popular, Deep cuts, and New releases, as well as Pump-up, Chill, Upbeat, Downbeat, and Focus. Sometimes, YouTube Music will note when there are “No songs to play” and you have to try different options.

When your Custom Radio Station is complete, you’ll get an “always updating” radio using the new layout. The playlist is named after the selected artists and characteristics. You can manually save this radio by using “Add to library” next to the play button.

As someone who makes a whole lot of themed playlists on YouTube, I think the custom radio stations feature is interesting. That said, I’m having a lot of fun making themed playlists on one of my YouTube channels, and don’t feel a need to make a YouTube radio just yet.

YouTube Says: “Ready, Set, Shop!”

YouTube announced that it is launching a new partnership with Shopify and giving all eligible creators access to live shopping tools. A YouTube Official Blog post is titled: “Ready, Set, Shop on YouTube”, and was written by Vice President Shopping Product, David Katz.

…We know that creators and viewers have a unique relationship and it’s this trust between them that helps inform what viewers ultimately buy. In fact, according to a study we ran in partnership with Publicis and TalkShoppe, 89% of viewers agree that YouTube creators give recommendations they can trust, so it’s important that everything that we’re working on in YouTube Shopping is in support of ensuring a seamless viewer and creator experience.

The post also says that YouTube knows that creators spend a lot of time building a business and developing their products, so they want to make it even easier for them to connect and manage their stores on YouTube and bring their products directly to their audience.

Starting next week, YouTube will introduce a new shopping destination in the explore tab that will feature stoppable relevant content for viewers in the US, Brazil and India, with additional countries to roll out later this year.

Creators who link their stores can display their products across their channel and benefit from Shopify’s real-time inventory synching so that viewers are never disappointed to find a product out of stock. And, for a more seamless shopping experience, creators in the US can enable onsite checkout so that viewer can complete their purchases without leaving YouTube.

Shopify provides more information about the partnership with YouTube

Shopify is the retail operating system for merchants and creators selling across multiple channels, making it easy to manage their commerce business from one place. Shopify merchants can sell their full range of products on YouTube in three ways:

Live streams: Merchants can tag and pin products at key points during a livestream, and picture-in-picture playback means consumers can watch while they check out.

Videos: Merchants can show a curated list of products in a product shelf below on-demand videos.

Store Tab: A new tab will be added to a merchant’s YouTube channel, featuring their entire selection of products.

Reuters reported that Shopify has also partnered with TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

Variety reported that to be eligible for YouTube’s shopping features, users must meet certain minimum requirements: Those include: the channel must be approved for monetization; if the channel is a music channel, it has to be an officially certified artist channel; if its not a music channel, it has to have more than 10,000 subscribers; and the channel’s audience must not have a “significant number” of videos designated as made for kids.

In short, if your YouTube channel has not hit those requirements – you won’t be allowed to receive the perks from the YouTube – Shopify partnership. The vast majority of YouTube creators will not benefit from this partnership at all.

YouTube Has Blocked Russia’s Parliamentary Channel’s Account

Reuters reported that YouTube has blocked Duma TV, which broadcasts from Russia’s lower house of parliament, drawing an angry response from officials who said the world’s most popular streaming service could face restrictions in response.

According to Reuters, a message on YouTube said the Duma channel had been “terminated for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.” YouTube (owned by Alphabet, Inc.) had been under pressure from Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor and officials were quick to respond.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakhrova posted on Telegram: “From the look of it, YouTube has signed its own warrant. Save content, transfer (it) to Russian platforms. And hurry up.”

Roskomnadzor reportedly asked Google to restore access to the Duma channel immediately. “The American IT company adhere to a pronounced anti-Russian position in the information war unleashed by the West against our country,” Roskomnadzor said.

CNN reported a quote from a Google spokesperson. “Google is committed to compliance with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws. If we find that an account violates our Terms of Service, we take appropriate action. Our teams are closely monitoring the situation for any updates and changes.”

Here is what stands out to me: there are other video streaming services that Russia could potentially use now that their lower house of parliament’s YouTube channel is gone. Perhaps they could try to use Twitch, or Vimeo?

Twitter allows people to post short videos, and Meta’s Facebook and Instagram also can be used to post videos. Why isn’t Russia using those platforms? Oh, that’s right. It is because Russia itself restricted access to all of those platforms. According to Reuters, Russia also tried to ban Telegram, which is now widely used by their officials, but lifted its ban in mid-2020.

In my opinion, Russia’s lower house of parliament is trying to make the loss of their YouTube channel into something that it isn’t. Google is well known for blocking videos and channels that break their Terms of Service.

YouTube is Blocking Channels Funded by the Russian Government

YouTube said it will start blocking YouTube channels funded by the Russian government. The Verge reported that this comes after YouTube blocked channels like RT and Sputnik in Europe. Many of the details about this come from the YouTubeInsider Twitter account. The account is YouTube’s official account for updates to the press and media.

@YouTubeInsider posted a thread of tweets about this topic:

“1/ Our Community Guidelines prohibit content denying, minimizing, or trivializing well-documented violent events. We are now removing content about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine that violates this policy”.

That tweet was quote-tweeting a previous @YouTubeInsider tweet from March 1, which was also a start of a thread. That tweet said: 1/ Today, we began blocking RT & Sputnik YouTube channels across Europe. Since Russian began its invasion in Ukraine, we’ve been focused on removing violative content & connecting people to trusted news & information. An overview of the steps we’ve taken in the last few days.”

Returning to the current thread of tweets:

“2/ in line with that, we are also now blocking access to YouTube channels associated with Russian state-funded media globally, expanding from across Europe. This change is effective immediately, and we expect our systems to take time to ramp up.”

“3/ Since our last update, our teams have now removed more than 1,000 channels and over 15,000 videos for violating not only our hate speech policy, but also our policies around misinformation, graphic content and more.”

“4/ Our systems are also connecting people to trusted news sources. So far, our breaking news and top news shelves on our homepage have received more than 17M views in Ukraine.”

“5/ In addition, we recently paused all YouTube ads in Russia. We’ve now extended this to all of the ways to monetize on our platform in Russia.”

“6/ Our teams continue to closely monitor the situation, and they are ready to take further action. We will continue to share updates as they become available.”

The Verge reported: While not being able to access channels like RT and Sputnik worldwide is an escalation from YouTube, Google had already made it so the channels couldn’t monetize their videos. In late February, the company said that Russia state media outlets wouldn’t be able to run ads on their videos.

The Hill reported that Facebook and Instagram similarly restricted access to Russian state media in Europe and have stopped recommending content by those groups to all users. The Hill also reported that Twitter has been “slapping labels” on all posts including links to Russia state media.

YouTube is Making Dislike Counts Private

YouTube announced it will be making the dislike counts private on YouTube. The dislike button itself will remain, but only the creator of the video will see how many dislikes a video got. This change will be rolling out gradually – starting today.

This decision by YouTube to change the way the dislike button is used was not done on a whim. It comes after an experiment with the dislike button, with the idea of seeing what happens if the number of dislikes was hidden from viewers. YouTube noted that the experiment ended on November 10, 2021.

Here is some explanation from YouTube about the change to the dislike button:

As part of an experiment, viewers could still see and use the dislike button. But because the count was not visible to them, we found that they were less likely to target a video’s dislike button to drive up the count. In short, our experiment data showed a reduction in dislike attacking behavior. We also heard directly from smaller creators and those just getting started that they are unfairly targeted by this behavior – and our experiment confirmed that this does occur at a higher proportion on smaller channels.

YouTube has made it clear that viewers can still use the dislike button. The difference is they won’t see how many other people have used it. The number of dislikes will only be viewable by the creator of the video through YouTube Studio.

YouTube also stated the following on their blog post:

We want to create an inclusive and respectful environment where creators have the opportunity to succeed and feel safe to express themselves. This is just one of many steps we are taking to continue to protect creators from harassment. Our work is not done, and we’ll continue to invest here.

As a person who puts their gameplay videos on YouTube – I am in favor of this change. It is always good when a company chooses to make an effort to prevent harassment. I’m hoping this change will make the angriest of commenters decide that using the dislike button isn’t fun anymore.

There is some evidence that removing the numbers from the dislike button works. The Verge reported: YouTube says that when it tested hiding dislike numbers, people were less likely to use the button to attack the creator – commenting “I just came here to dislike” was seemingly less satisfying when you don’t actually get to see the number go up.

YouTube will Remove Content that Alleges Widespread Election Fraud

In a lengthy blog post, YouTube announced updates to their work supporting the integrity of the 2020 U.S. election. This includes removing content that violates their policies. In addition to things that YouTube was already removing, the company will now remove content that alleges widespread election fraud.

Yesterday was the safe harbor deadline for the U.S. Presidential election and enough states have certified their election results to determine a President-elect. Given that, we will start removing any piece of content uploaded today (or anytime after) that misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential elections, in line with our approach towards historical U.S. Presidential elections.

As an example, YouTube pointed out that they will remove videos claiming that a Presidential candidate won the election due to widespread software glitches or counting errors. News coverage and commentary on these issues can remain on YouTube if there’s sufficient education, documentary, scientific, or artistic context.

Part of YouTube’s blog post mentions that since Election Day, relevant fact check information panels, from third party fact checkers, were triggered over 200,000 times above relevant election-related search results, including for voter fraud narratives such as “Dominion voting machines” and “Michigan recount.”

The Hill reported that YouTube’s move does not appear to involve the removal of any content fitting that description if it was uploaded before Wednesday. The Hill also stated that YouTube has said that since September it has terminated more than 800,000 channels and “thousands of harmful and misleading elections-related videos” for violating its existing content policies.

Personally, I think YouTube is making good decisions about what to remove. The recounts are over. The courts have dismissed many (if not all) of President Trump’s election related lawsuits. Many states have certified their election results. There is no reason for YouTube to host misleading election related content anymore.

YouTube Takes Stronger Stance Against Personal Attacks

YouTube announced a series of policy and product changes that update how they will tackle harassment on the platform. It includes a stronger stance against threats and personal attacks, and consequences for those who engage in harassing behavior.

YouTube will now prohibit explicit threats and veiled or implied threats. This includes content that simulates violence towards an individual or language suggesting physical violence may occur. In addition, YouTube will no longer show content that maliciously insults someone based on protected attributes such as race, gender expression, or sexual orientation.

Something we heard from our creators is that harassment sometimes takes the shape of a pattern of repeated behavior across multiple videos or comments, even if any individual video doesn’t cross our policy line. To address this, we’re tightening our policies for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to get even tougher on those who engage in harassing behavior and to ensure we only reward trusted creators. Channels that repeatedly brush up against our harassment policy will be suspended from YPP, eliminating their ability to make money on You Tube. We may also remove content from channels if they repeatedly harass someone. If this behavior continues, we’ll take more severe action including issuing strikes or terminating a channel altogether.

In addition, YouTube will remove comments that clearly violate their policies. They will also give creators the option to review a comment before it is posted on their channel. Last week, YouTube began turning on this feature by default for YouTube’s largest channels with the site’s most active comment sections. It will roll out to most channels by the end of the year.

BuzzFeed News reported about a situation that happened on YouTube earlier this year between Stephen Crowder and Carlos Maza. According to BuzzFeed News, YouTube decided, after a review, that some of Crowder’s content crossed a line and will be removed from the platform.

Personally, I think that cracking down on harassment can only be a good thing. Nobody enjoys being the target of harassment, and I can see where that experience could cause a person to stop posting videos on YouTube. I really like that YouTube will kick repeat harassers out of the YPP program. Taking away the ability for a bully to make money on YouTube could be an effective deterrent.