YouTube has launched the careers of many creators and given creators of all sizes a way to earn money for their videos. You’ll notice that most videos on YouTube will encourage you to subscribe to support the channel, but does it cost money to subscribe to a YouTube channel?
The answer is kind of, sometimes. Subscriptions don’t cost money on YouTube, but the word “subscription” is used different across different platforms, which can cause some serious confusion.
Does It Cost Money to Subscribe to YouTube Channels?
You can subscribe to a YouTube channel for free, but channel memberships cost money.
Let’s go over some of the causes of confusion, as we compare YouTube subscriptions to Twitch subscriptions and how the word “subscription” is used in different ways.
- Subscribing on YouTube: Subscribing to a channel in the traditional sense just means that you’ve clicked the subscribe button, which means that channel’s videos will be recommended to you more often and will show up on your Subscriptions page.
- Subscribing on Twitch: This is what causes a lot of the confusion around YouTube subscriptions and whether they cost money or not, it’s terms getting crossed. What we described above as a “subscription” in the context of YouTube would actually be a “follow” on Twitch. When you follow a streamer on Twitch, their channel will show up on your sidebar when they’re live. Twitch also offers the ability to subscribe to a channel, which means paying money, and costs around $5 per month. Since Twitch subscriptions are a paid feature, people sometimes assume the same is true of YouTube.
- YouTube Memberships: YouTube also has a paid subscription service for viewers to support channels. They’re called Memberships. They can cost anywhere from around $1 to much more, but $5 is fairly standard. There can be different membership levels for different prices, too.
A YouTube membership is like a Twitch subscription, whereas a YouTube subscription is like a Twitch follow.
YouTube Channel Subscriptions Are Free, But Memberships Cost Money
You can subscribe to a YouTube channel for free. All you need is a YouTube account and you can start building a list of subscriptions. Subscribe to all of your favorite channels and any other interesting channels that you come across if you would like to see more of their videos.
If you really like a channel and you want to support the creator and maybe even get some extra little perks, then you can buy a Membership to their channel, if they have their feature enabled.
A Membership can offer a variety of different perks chosen by the channel creator. It can include exclusive community posts, early access to new videos, and custom emotes to use in their chat if they livestream on YouTube.
The cost of a YouTube membership has a floor of around $1 depending on the currency, but creators can add membership tiers that cost much more than that. The common cost of a membership is around $5.
Are YouTube channel membership perks worth it? The short answer is no, usually not – but it’s something you do to support the creator. In some cases, having access to exclusive streams/videos makes it worthwhile as a fan, but it’s best not to go into it with super high expectations and just think of it as a donation to a creator for entertaining or educating you.
Is Subscribing on YouTube free?
Yes, it’s free to subscribe on YouTube. If you want to support a creator that you enjoy, subscribing to their channel is a great way to do that.
Other Ways to Support YouTubers
- Leaving comments on their videos is another good way to support them, the extra engagement of comments can help grow their channel.
- Having YouTube Premium and watching a creator’s videos will give the creator a decent amount of money, without having to watch any ads. In some cases, a YouTuber will earn 70-75% of their income from ads, and 25-30% from YouTube premium. It makes up a big portion of their revenue, and YouTube premium has some creator benefits like an ad-free experience and other perks.
- Sharing a creator’s content with people that might enjoy is another way you can help them, especially for smaller channels that haven’t hit their first big wave of growth yet.
- Becoming a channel member costs a few bucks, depending on how their have their tiers setup, but it’s the most direct way to finally support a specific creator. Rather than buying a bunch of memberships to different channels, you could simply get YouTube Premium and watch their videos, and they’ll get paid out for that, too. The big plus here is that YouTube Premium gets rid of ads, but channel memberships don’t do that.
Final Thoughts on The Cost of Subscribing to YouTube Channels
Now that we’ve covered the fact that there’s no financial cost to sub to YouTubers, let’s acknowledge that there are different types of costs.
If you have a subscription feed that’s so jam-packed with tons of channels, you’ll miss out your favorite channels since their videos will quickly get bumped lower and lower on your subscriptions list until they pass you by. The cost of subscribing to a ton of channels is you’ll probably miss some of your favorite content.
Another possible cost is that you could end up watching much more YouTube than you should be, since it’s easy to get sucked into an algorithmic hole and to watch things for hours upon hours. This can happen even if you don’t subscribe, but having a huge subscription list means you’ll probably be watching a lot more content than you might have time to do responsibly.
In any case, just remember that it’s free to subscribe to YouTube channels, but channel memberships and YouTube premium both cost money. YouTube Premium is the better value for someone who watches a lot of different channels and wants to not see any ads, while still being able to support their favorite channels financially since YouTube Premium pays creators a substantial amount.