How Do YouTube Channel Memberships Work?

Learn how to get extra content from your favorite channels

YouTube Memberships are a way for fans to support their favorite YouTube channels by committing to automated monthly donations. Their main purpose is to provide financial assistance to YouTubers and help them make videos full-time. Additionally, members get benefits such as access to member-only posts and exclusive emoji for use in YouTube live chats.

YouTube Memberships are different from YouTube Subscriptions. Subscribing to a YouTuber automatically adds new videos from a channel to your feed, just 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 on all channels. To gain access, a channel must already be in the YouTube Partner Program, have more than 30,000 subscribers, and 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 is to the left of the Subscribe or Subscribed button.

The YouTube Memberships Join button is not visible on smartphones.

YouTube Membership

How Much Do YouTube Memberships Cost?

All YouTube Memberships cost $4.99. They can be upgraded to higher tiers, and each tier has its own price point and perks. Perks stack as you go up each tier, meaning if you join at the most expensive tier you get access to the perks in all the lower ones.

For every YouTube Membership payment, the owner of the channel receives 70 percent of the funds while YouTube takes 30 percent. This calculation is made after the cost of taxes is applied, so the YouTuber likely gets 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 compensation.

What Do YouTube Channel Members Receive?

Rewards or benefits for paying a YouTube channel's Membership fee vary from channel to channel, though many offer some common benefits, including:

  • Member-exclusive posts: Many channels write special posts for their members. They appear within the Community tab on a channel's page and on your main feed. 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. They can help you stand out from the crowd but are also a way to promote the channel.
  • Exclusive emoji: Some YouTube channels offer members special emoji they can use on the YouTube app and website. Like the loyalty badges, these usually feature unique artwork that can't be found anywhere else and they 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. These special YouTube emoji are essentially the same as Twitch emotes.

How to Join a YouTube Membership

Supporting your favorite channel with a YouTube membership is easy. Here's how to do it:

  1. Visit the channel you want to support and select the Join button.

    Philip DeFranco YouTube Channel.
  2. A small information panel pops up showing you the monthly fee and the perks of becoming a member.

    YouTube channel Membership information such as badges and emoji.

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

  3. Select 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 previously used a credit card to subscribe to YouTube Premium or make another purchase on YouTube, your payment information is pre-loaded.

  5. Select Buy. You should see a welcome announcement once your transaction is complete.

When Will I Be Charged For A YouTube Membership?

You have to make the first payment for a YouTube Membership immediately. You'll be charged the monthly fee on the same day every month thereafter.

For example, if you started a YouTube Membership subscription on February 20, you're immediately charged on this date. You would make your second payment on March 20, your third payment on April 20, and so on.

How to Cancel A YouTube Membership

All YouTube Memberships can be managed and cancelled from the YouTube Purchases page. You can find it by accessing the left side 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 is the original name for Memberships. It was changed to Memberships in mid-2018 once the feature was rolled out to more users.