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For those of you that are thinking about starting up a YouTube channel, or that already have a YouTube channel, you may have come across a few MCNs (Multi-Channel Networks), or ‘partners’, or, depending on the size, you may have already been approached by one, or a few. What now?
Well, first, you’re probably asking yourself, what the heck is an MCN? And why should I join it?
Well, an MCN is exactly that. A multi-channel network that (normally) will advertise the crap out of your channel. There are some that you can willingly, and actively enter, and leave (with the 30 day unlinking period), of your own free will, such as Freedom!, but there are others that will have you sign up for a 1, 2, or 3-year contract before you are allowed to leave the network. Think of it like a cellphone contract, but for your YouTube channel.
The only things that I can think of that, hopefully, you have already thought of, are these.
- Number 1: Look into the network. If it’s just a network that’s trying to grab your channel, why would you want to be part of ‘The Biggest Gaming MCN on YouTube’ when you’re a makeup channel? Take a look at the network itself. Its homepage, etc. If something seems off, or if you’re a bit hesitant, then the best thing that I can tell you is… well, don’t.
- Number 2: Do your homework. Find out if you are part of the ‘pay as you go’ (able to leave whenever with no hassle), a subscription based one (where you have to pay into it), or if you’re part of a contract. Calculate the cost of what everything would be. Figure out what you need to do, and what your expectations are from the network.
MCNs are almost always helpful for smaller channels (<100 subs), because they encourage people to interact and collaborate, but they are also helpful for bigger channels as well. But, do keep in mind. Just because they are helping you, doesn’t mean that they don’t make a profit from you either. Most of the time, especially with smaller channels that they wouldn't really be able to headline on the front page of their site (example: Myself, currently at about 800 subscribers, versus Markilpier, approaching 18 million subscribers), they will take a fairly hefty chunk of the money that you make when you are first starting out. Normally, about 60% of it goes to the MCN, and the other 40% goes to you. So that's something else to keep in mind. You get a fair amount of growth from it, or you should get a fair amount of growth from it, but you suffer in terms of how much you make. Looks like that corner store job will have to stick around for another few years because you can say 'Byeeee!' and call YouTube your career.
When you joined YouTube, wanting to show people your awesome makeup skills, or because you love gaming, or because you have an amazing voice, nobody ever told you that you’d have to join an MCN, and keep in mind that just because you are on YouTube, that doesn’t mean that you have to join one! If you don’t like the network that is approaching you, or if you aren’t reaching enough views for the bigger networks, then… don’t! Remain independent until such a time that you are able to join the network that you have been pining for, or until you can make the decision if you want to even do so at all! A lot of the greater YouTube channels that are out there (SeaNanners, PewDiePie, Marzia, to name a few), all started somewhere, as should you. Just keep your videos coming!
And, one last little bit of advice for any aspiring YouTuber that might be out there. Don’t fake it. If you're normally a silly, goofy guy/girl when you play video games, then be that silly goofy guy! Have fun with it. People enjoy watching a lot more if you are being 100% genuine than if you are just acting a part.