Popular WoW Streamer Hires YouTubers Who Leeched Off His Stream To Run Official Channel

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Popular WoW Streamer Hires YouTubers Who Leeched Off His Stream To Run Official Channel
Image: Asmongold

If you search any popular Twitch streamer’s name on YouTube, you’ll find countless videos scraped from their streams. Of these, some will likely come from the streamer, but many are the product of users who upload content that is not, strictly speaking, theirs.

Recent YouTube changes, however, are apparently making that more difficult. Instead of cheering YouTube leeches’ demise, WoW streamer Asmongold has decided to help.

During a stream yesterday, Asmongold announced that he’s started a new official YouTube channel run by people who used to reap the technically ill-gotten gains of unofficial Asmongold YouTube channels. He explained that, in the wake of a YouTube monetisation change that targets videos featuring the same content, a handful of “reuploaders,” as they’re sometimes called, reached out to him to ask if they could help run an official channel.

“Finally no more leeches? Well, it’s actually the opposite,” said Asmongold. “What ended up happening is, they’re not able to make money off the videos as much anymore, right? They want to make it an official thing… This is not their content; it’s my content they’re making. But of course I’m gonna help them out. The amount of people that watch my videos on YouTube and then go watch my stream is huge.”

While some streamers aren’t OK with reuploaders, many turn a blind eye to the practice because, as Asmongold points out, they benefit from it. Twitch is an enormous platform in its own right, but YouTube still dwarfs it with a user base of nearly two billion people. Reuploaders, meanwhile, are doing a form of labour. They’re watching streams that sometimes last 10+ hours, chopping them up into digestible chunks, editing clips together, and figuring out how to package them. That takes substantial time and effort, and it serves an audience of people who might not have time to follow these streamers otherwise. Should they be making money off this while existing in what’s basically a grey area on YouTube’s endless digital frontier, wrangling content that other people worked hard to make? That’s an incredibly thorny question. But the fact is, many people are.

While laying out his reasoning for hiring reuploaders and paying them an amount that has yet to be determined (but will likely be based on what streamers generally pay people who run their YouTube channels), Asmongold pointed to videos other people had stitched together from his streams. One had nearly five million views.

“It’s fucking insane,” he said. “It’s absolutely fucking insane… One guy told me that he made $US27,000 ($39,333) a month by uploading Asmongold highlights to YouTube. I didn’t believe it, but he showed me a screenshot of it. The next month, he made $US32,000 ($46,616).”

So Asmongold stands to benefit handsomely from this arrangement, too. It is not uncommon, then, for streamers to have official channels that serve a similar function. Sometimes they hire from their own communities, a trend that recently led to controversy for leftist streamer Hasan Piker, who was accused of exploiting the labour of an unaffiliated YouTube editor who felt like Piker was stringing him along with the possibility of a job. In response, Piker said he wasn’t even aware the person wanted a job, but that’d he pay them because “people send me videos they edit all the time” and “if they ask for compensation, I pay them.” However he requested that, going forward, nobody else send him videos or memes unless he specifically asked them to work with him, especially in light of the fact that his own YouTube channel “makes zero dollars a month” and is “literally not worth the headache.”

As the top World of Warcraft streamer on Twitch, Asmongold is a much bigger name than Piker, which changes the dynamics of all this significantly. Asmongold already has one official YouTube channel, and this new one, with more regular uploads, will probably make a substantial amount of money. But it will also be a drop in the bucket for Asmongold, who laughed while saying that he recently failed to read an email and missed out on a brand deal that would have netted him “like $US100,000 ($145,676) in a day.”

The economics of unofficial stream editing and YouTube reuploading are messy and fraught, and absolutely not consistent across different tiers of streamer. Some, like Asmongold, who is a millionaire, can easily afford to ignore the lion’s share of it and pop in to help out when it benefits them. Others are less fortunate. Not all reuploaders are created equal, either. Many barely pull any views at all. And depending on how much YouTube has altered the way it handles monetisation, it might have just turned the entire scene on its head.

For his part, Asmongold said that other reuploaders are free to keep doing their thing. “I’m not gonna DMCA your channel,” he said. “You have these guys that are making top one per cent salaries by uploading videos of my stream. I think it’s funny.”

Comments

  • The full-time professional streamer thing really is something I can’t fathom ever being capable of.

    The idea of having to sit there for hours on end, every day, and always be ‘on’ and interacting with the chat, etc… Just thinking about the amount of energy it must take makes me want to go take a nap.

    • It’s like any job where you’re out in front of people, really. It’s just a case of having the right temperament and talent for it.

      For me, the closest thing I can think of to being a streamer is back when I used to do radio. The major difference is you’re playing games instead of music, but a lot of the underlying skill is the same.

      • Yeeeah, I find it exhausting dealing with even a couple of people for a prolonged period of time.

        The idea of dealing with hundreds/thousands seems truly fatal to an introvert type, I very much lack the ability to feed on the life force of others like those extroverts with their emotional vampirism.

      • mind you though, as a radio presenter you hardly ever interact with the public unless you specifically do talkback shows like Alan Jones and Ray Hadley

  • Wow. The levels of dodginess behind taking someone’s stream, making some edits and then uploading it to make money off it yourself, without asking permission from the creator, or expecting them to pay you for it, astounds me.

    • I’m on the fence with it myself. I get where you’re coming from, and if its just a basic rebadging and thats about it, then theres a strong level of dodginess, but often its more than that.

      Take wrestling for example. The WWE puts on a range of good shows, but they’re up to 5 hours long in some cases. If someone comes along and cuts that down to ~10 minutes per hour, I get to see the core of the show without having to sit through hours of fluff. There are times where you just want to see the highlights and results.

      Streamers like Asmongold are similar. Their streams are 6-8 hours long, which means theres a lot of dull stuff to sift through to get to the highlights. Culling out the quiet parts is adding value, and I respect that.

      And most of the time the streamers that do upload to YouTube dont bother with culling to the highlights, they just upload the stream as a whole which keeps that same problem. Theres a lot of boring stuff wrapped around the highlights. So if they arent going to do it, I dont mind others doing it. As Asmongold says, they benefit as well so its not a complete loss to them. If they really cared, they’d take the 30 minutes to do a highlights package and upload it themselves.

      There are pro’s and con’s on both sides of it. Most of the pro’s are on the streamers side to be sure, but not all of them.

  • I only ever really watched CatDany because he was the only one actually putting in effort to make good highlight videos for ages.

    The others just ripped footage without putting in any effort at all.

    CatDany is the OG.

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