A short survival guide for American k-pop fans fucked over by YouTube Red

Some of you Americans out there have stopped shooting each other long enough to notice that certain k-pop videos are blocked on YouTube.  So, what’s going on?  Why is this happening?  Is there justice in this world?  How will you survive?


I’ve never made a post especially catering to my American readers, but they represent a sizeable minority of Kpopalypse readers so here’s a little post just for them!  Yay!

Here’s a video of Lovelyz’ “Ah-Choo”.

What a great song.  Pity you can’t watch it if you’re American, as Woollim channel is blocked at the moment in the USA (although it may be fixed by the time you read this, see below), and they’re not the only ones.  So why is this happening?

Until recently, all YouTube content was free to watch, but anyone who was uploading content and agreed to have paid advertising randomly inserted before or during their videos could earn a small sum of that advertising revenue from YouTube themselves.  The amount of money possible to earn isn’t that large – Psy earned about US$2m from two billion YouTube views, so assuming that’s the normal kind of rate, 1 million views would get you $1000, but even that’s an optimistic figure to base other people’s earnings around because an ad attached to a Psy video is probably “worth more” than an ad attached to Spica or Mamamoo or your friend’s shitty self-consciously forced, overacted v-logging.  However a little bit of money is better than no money, so most content providers who get decent web traffic signed on for this enterprise.

Despite all this advertising everywhere, YouTube actually doesn’t make any net profit and never has, so some bright sparks at YouTube thought it would be a good idea to launch a new subscription-based model called YouTube Red to help change this.  For $9.95 per month, YouTube Red subscribers get the following:

  • No advertising (because they hope like hell that you haven’t heard of AdBlock Plus)
  • The ability to watch YouTube in the background on a mobile device (because watching a video while not watching a video is important)
  • Exclusive video content (which at the time of writing hasn’t yet been created but it involves shit v-loggers overacting again)
  • New Hitomi Tanaka webcams each week EDIT: sorry I was thinking of RedTube.

Of course you’re an intelligent, streetwise k-pop fan and so you’re not going to want to pay for any of this fucking crap, you just want to watch Lovelyz and Infinite videos, but you can’t.  However YouTube says that their video experience shouldn’t change for people who watch for free.  So… why has it changed?  Here’s where it gets a little complicated and hopefully I can explain this in a way that isn’t as confusing as Kei’s headwear choices:


The problem is that content creators who have already signed up to the existing ad-carrying deal mentioned above now have to resign to a new deal so that anyone who is subscribed to YouTube Red can have ad-free status and is legally exempt from having to carry their advertising that it was previously agreed all users (without AdBlock Plus ahem) would see.  Most content creators have signed this agreement happily, but not all of them.

If a content creator doesn’t agree to the new terms, this means that YouTube can’t legally make their video available to ad-free YouTube Red subscribers, which means that anyone on the new subscription deal paying $9.95 actually gets less content than free users do, rather than more!  This obviously makes YouTube look like a bunch of fucking morons, and since YouTube probably doesn’t like looking like a bunch of fucking morons, they have decided to level the playing field for their userbase by setting the videos to private of anyone who doesn’t agree to the new terms, therefore YouTube Red subscribers and normal viewers both get the same (crippled) access to existing content rather than YouTube Red subscribers getting slightly less.  So your access to certain k-pop videos has been revoked because YouTube have backed themselves into a corner with existing agreements and now need to legally weasel their way forward.

However, don’t lose hope!  Three things to keep in mind:

The situation is probably temporary as fuck

The main reason why labels such as Woolim, Brave Brothers, J-Tune Camp and others haven’t signed onto the new deal is probably language barrier, they likely just didn’t know what the fuck it all meant.  Let’s be honest, do YOU read carefully and respond to every piece of bullshit that Microsoft, Google or whoever throws into your inbox?  Expect most if not all of them to sign onto the new YouTube Red deal over the next few days once they realise that there’s an impact to their viewer base going on.  K-pop companies like having international fans and they won’t want to jeopardise that, and once they agree to the new deal their videos will be unprivated and you can recommence fapping.

There are ways around this shit

Ask the Germans who have had pretty much all of YouTube’s music content blocked since day one.  The YouTube Red blocking only affects USA viewers right now so a proxy server can make it look like your computer is from another country (just don’t pick Germany).  There are plenty of proxy services to choose from, just don’t use Hola which is a piece of shit that allows you to be held legally liable for other people downloading illegal stuff.  Lots of users recommend Tor browser but to be honest Kpopalypse is not an expert in this area, other sites may be more helpful however.

In a worst case scenario k-pop agencies will rise to the challenge

Unlike the Japanese market, Korean agencies value the newfound global reach that k-pop’s first Golden Age gave them and actually want you to watch their shit for free.  Most companies host their videos on more than one channel, and if YouTube tanks completely for their purposes by paywalling everything and the cat you can expect to see k-pop agencies take up a different streaming service in response like DailyMotion, Vimeo or something else.  You can also watch k-pop videos on Korean video portals, if you can navigate them.

Here’s Lovelyz’ “Ah-Choo” on the 1thek channel.  If the video link earlier didn’t work, this one might, because unlike Woollim, 1thek has agreed to the new YouTube Red terms.

See, not so bad after all!  Now you Americans can get back to the important things in life like eating apple pie and shooting things.  Yay!

9 thoughts on “A short survival guide for American k-pop fans fucked over by YouTube Red

  1. Well something must have happened because I’m in the USA and I’m still getting it. By the way, is it me or does anyone else think Jisoo is the prettiest? Must be that iljin thug quality, huh?

  2. The $9.95 per month fee feels a bit much when the commercials is not a big deal. But at the same time I pay that for Spotify and I use youtube a lot more so maybe I would pay it anyway.

  3. Yeah, the whole YouTube RED thing pisses me off. Copyright in the USA has become not only too protective, but too long… which got pushed worldwide through “free trade” agreements. I would hope you oppose the TPP over in Korea, because it would force some of the bad laws over to your side of the Pacific as well.

    As for the shooting thing: I am an American, and I think the violence is stupid. Too many people with guns and mental health problems running around. I can see why people think America is like that. I’m not talking about video games, either. I’m talking real life tragedies.
    I mean, why not keep guns from people who would most likely abuse them? Sure, blame the person not the tool, but the tool should not be with people that have mental health issues. So the NRA should bear some of the blame, too. Guns should have a ‘clean bill of mental health’ requirement. That would actually make me unable to get a gun, but I would rather be excluded than be in danger.

    I sincerely hope the gun situation in your country is better.

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