How Do YouTube Channel Memberships Work?

Learn how to get extra content from your favorite channels

A woman signing up for a YouTube Membership with her credit card and laptop.

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YouTube Memberships are a way for fans to support their favorite YouTube channels by committing to automated monthly donations.

The main purpose of YouTube Memberships is to provide financial assistance to YouTubers while helping them to make videos full-time. Additionally, there are benefits given to members such as access to member-only blog posts and exclusive emoji for use in YouTube live chats.

YouTube Memberships are different from YouTube Subscriptions. Subscribing to a YouTuber is a simple, automated way to add new videos from a channel to your feed. Subscribing is completely free and is like following someone on Twitter or Instagram. You can be a subscriber and a Member simultaneously.

Which YouTube Channels Have Memberships?

The YouTube Memberships feature is not available to all channels. To gain access to YouTube Memberships, a channel must already be in the YouTube Partner Program, have more than 30,000 subscribers, and also have zero policy strikes.

Policy strikes are typically given to YouTube channels when they break copyright law, post inappropriate content, or are involved in online bullying or harassment.

YouTube Memberships are limited to specific regions and must be manually turned on by the channel owner once they become eligible. It is a purely optional feature.

How Can I Tell If A YouTube Channel Uses Memberships?

The easiest way to tell if a YouTube channel is using the Memberships feature is to look for the Join button on its main channel or beneath any of its videos. In both cases, the Join button will be to the left of the Subscribe or Subscribed button.

The YouTube Memberships Join button is not visible on smartphones.

How Much Do YouTube Memberships Cost?

All YouTube Memberships have a set cost of $4.99. This price cannot be increased or decreased and there are no payment tiers like those seen on rival paid subscriptions services such as Twitch and Patreon.

For every YouTube Membership payment, the owner of the YouTube channel receives 70 percent of the funds while YouTube takes 30 percent. This calculation is made after the cost of taxes have been applied so the YouTuber will likely get slightly less than the expected $3.49.

YouTube covers all transaction-related expenses so these fees, however much they may be, are not deducted from your monthly payment or the YouTuber's money.

What Do A YouTube Channel's Members Get?

Rewards or benefits for paying a YouTube channel's Membership fee varies from channel to channel though there are some common benefits that many offer.

  • Member-exclusive posts. Many channels write special posts for their members that appear within the Community tab on a channel's page and on the main feed on the YouTube website and apps. These posts are only viewable by paid members and usually provide insight into the production of videos or the personal life of the YouTuber.
  • Loyalty badges. These are small images that appear next to your YouTube username when writing a comment or participating in a live chat. These images can help you stand out from the crowd but are also a way to promote the channel you're a member of.
  • Exclusive emoji. Some YouTube channels offer members special emoji that they can use on the YouTube apps and website. Like the loyalty badges, these emoji usually feature unique artwork that can't be found anywhere else and sometimes incorporate people or phrases known to a specific YouTube channel's audience. For example, the Philip DeFranco channel frequently uses the word "wow" in its YouTube video titles so one of its emoji is a stylized graphic of the word "wow." These special YouTube emoji are essentially the same as Twitch emotes.

    How to Join A YouTube Membership

    1. From a YouTube video page or the channel's main page, click Join.

      Philip DeFranco YouTube Channel.
    2. A small panel of information will pop up showing you the perks of becoming a member and how much the monthly fee will be.

      YouTube channel Membership information such as badges and emoji.

      The monthly fee is priced at $4.99 in the US. This price point is used to determine the cost of YouTube memberships in other currencies in different regions. This isn't a direct conversion however. For example, in Australia the cost of a YouTube Membership is AUS$5.99. Your region's price will display automatically on this page so there's no need to convert the cost yourself.

    3. Click Join.

    4. Fill in your credit card information. If you wish to pay with PayPal, you can select that payment option from the dropdown menu.

      YouTube Memberships sign-up process on the YouTube website.

      If you've previously used a credit card to subscribe to YouTube Premium or make another purchase on YouTube, your payment information will be pre-loaded.

    5. Click Buy.

    When Will I Be Charged For A YouTube Membership?

    The first payment for a YouTube Membership is charged immediately and is then repeated on the same day every month thereafter.

    For example, if you started a YouTube Membership subscription on the February 20, you would be immediately charged on this date and then you would make your second payment on March 20. Your third payment on April 20, fourth on May 20, and so on.

    How to Cancel A YouTube Membership

    All YouTube Memberships can be managed and cancelled from the YouTube Purchases page. This can be found from the left menu on the YouTube website or from the Library tab on the YouTube iOS and Android apps.

    Are YouTube Sponsorships And Memberships The Same?

    YouTube Sponsorships was the original name for Memberships. It was changed to Memberships in mid-2018 once the feature was rolled out to more users.