YouTube is strongly rumored to be launching a subscription-based music service soon, but the Google-owned video site has quietly introduced a new (and far lower-key) payment service that lets viewers send donations to YouTube channel owners.
First noticed by the astute folks at Android Police, the fan funding feature in initially available in four countries: the US, Australia, Japan, and Mexico. If you live in any of these places, then you may notice the below pop up appear inside Youtube.com or the service’s mobile apps if the channel owner has turned it on.
A ‘tips jar’ is not going to “replace” revenue from advertising, but You-tubers who enjoy a close relationship with their fans may be able to augment their ad revenue without upsetting their viewers.
For what it’s worth, Google’s cut is 5 percent and a small fee ($0.21 in the US) — for example, a $10 dollar donation will see $9.29 passed on to the artist directly.
We’ve asked Google for more details of the fan funding program. We’ll update this post if we hear more.