Merchandise isn’t a new concept for YouTube creators, but the company is partnering with Teespring to help creators design and sell merchandise straight through YouTube.
Creators with at least 10,000 subscribers can use the new service that YouTube is rolling out today. Essentially, if creators want to design a t-shirt that their fans can purchase, a shelf appears just below their videos with a variety of items that fans can choose to purchase. This means that instead of watching a vlogger plug their merchandise with a link every few seconds in their videos, the merchandise will appear directly on the page.
This is part of YouTube’s new alternative monetization plan. Creators have sold a variety of merch for years, but this marks one of YouTube’s first foray’s into partnering with creators to help sell items. YouTube is a business, though, and that means the company will take a cut of the merchandise sold, much like Teespring. Rohit Dhawan, senior director of product management at YouTube, told Polygon the company wants merchandising options to be a collaborative experience. Essentially, YouTube will earn a cut from the products sold, but the company isn’t looking to rip off creators.
“There’s a $1 bonus for every product that’s going to creators,” Dhawan said. “So the creator gets a $1 bonus for each product. Is that right? That’s what we’ve been able to negotiate with Teespring for our creators. We are taking a relatively small amount, but it’s $1 to the creator and a relatively small amount back to us.”
YouTube won’t acknowledge how much they’ll earn from a sale, but Teespring’s site offers some more details that creators will be interested in learning about. The company charges a base fee that differs depending on the type of product sold. An example listed on the company’s site states that if a t-shirt has a $10 base level, and that shirt is sold for $24.99, then the designer pockets $14 while Teespring collects a base $10 fee.
Not all creators want to use Teespring, however. The company was called out earlier this year for hosting stolen art, and was subject to an online boycott from independent artists upset by the company’s seeming inability to do anything. There are other creators who have strict partnerships with other merchandising houses, like Fanjoy, who may not want to switch over just because YouTube is now offering an easier way to purchase merchandise. Dhawan said creators don’t have to use Teespring, but added YouTube is currently talking to other companies in hopes of adding more outlets for creators to choose from.
On-page merchandising shelves will be available for creators today with more than 10,000 subscribers. Teespring is also offering free design services to creators with more than 100,000 subscribers, according to Dhawan. There are approximately 20 items that creators will be able to choose from once merchandising options are live.