YouTube has spent two years building up YouTube Shorts, its TikTok-style feature for short form video clips. Now it’s about to throw the switch to monetize that content — and share the revenue with creators.

Starting in early 2023, YouTube Shorts-focused creators can apply to be part of the platform’s revenue-sharing program if they have at least 1,000 subscribers and 10 million Shorts views over 90 days. The new partners “will enjoy all the benefits our program offers, including the various ways to make money like ads on long-form and Fan Funding,” according to Amjad Hanif, VP of creator products at YouTube.

YouTube also announced a new way for creators to license music for their videos — and still get paid for their video views under the ad-revenue sharing program.

For Shorts ad-revenue sharing, here’s how it will work: In YouTube Shorts, ads run between videos in the feed. Every month, revenue from these ads will be added together and used to reward Shorts creators and help cover costs of music licensing. From the overall amount allocated to creators, they will keep 45% of the revenue, distributed based on their share of total Shorts views — the same split offered in the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). “The revenue share remains the same, no matter if they use music or not,” Hanif wrote in a blog post Tuesday.

“This brand-new approach allows us to reward all YPP creators who make up the Shorts experience, not just to those with videos running next to ads. In addition, since Music fuels some of our most vibrant and memorable Shorts, it simplifies the complexities of music licensing, so that creators don’t have to worry about whether or not they use music in their Short,” Hanif wrote.

Google in June boasted that YouTube Shorts has more than 1.5 billion monthly logged-in users. A year ago, in a bid to spur the creation of short clips, YouTube launched a $100 million fund for YouTube Shorts, under which creators of top-performing videos could earn up to $10,000 per month.

“We expect the majority of our Shorts Fund recipients to earn more money under this new [advertising] model, which was built for long-term sustainability. Instead of a fixed fund, we’re doubling down on the revenue sharing model that has supercharged the creator economy and enabled creators to benefit from the platform’s success,” Hanif wrote.

Meanwhile, YouTube is introducing Creator Music, a new destination in YouTube Studio that gives YouTube creators access to a catalog of music for use in their long-form videos. “Creators can now buy affordable, high-quality music licenses that offer them full monetizing potential — they will keep the same revenue share they’d usually make on videos without any music,” according to Hanif. “And for creators who don’t want to buy a license up front, they’ll be able to use songs and share revenue with the track’s artist and associated rights holders.” Until now, Hanif noted, because of “the complexities of music licensing,” most long-form videos that feature third-party music have not been eligible for monetization.

Creator Music is currently in beta in the U.S. and will expand to more countries in 2023. “We believe Creator Music will mean more amazing creator-artist collabs, more new tunes in viewers’ playlists, and more ways for artists to break through — all while continuing to put money in creators’ pockets,” Hanif wrote.

YouTube first launched the YouTube Partner Program for ad-revenue sharing, and now counts millions of creators who earn money from their videos via advertising. According to YouTube, over the past three years, it has paid creators, artists and media companies over $50 billion.

YouTube also is launching Super Thanks for Shorts in beta to “thousands of creators,” with a complete rollout expected next year. Viewers can show their appreciation for their favorite Shorts, and creators can interact with their fans through purchased, highlighted Super Thanks comments. And the platform plans to bring together brands and Shorts creators as part of YouTube BrandConnect event for advertisers.

In addition, YouTube also announced that it will introduce a “new level” of YPP with lower requirements that will offer earlier access to fan-funding features like Super Thanks, Super Chat, Super Stickers and Channel Memberships. “To reward creators across a range of formats, we’ll have paths for long-form, Shorts and Live creators to join this new tier in 2023. Stay tuned for more details,” Hanif wrote.

To participate in the existing YouTube Partner Program, creators must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours.

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