How to join the YouTube Partner Program: requirements explained

How to successfully join the YPP YouTube Partner Program

YouTube remains one of the most popular platforms for content creators. Not only is it an excellent place for users to discover innovative content, but it’s also a platform that allows creators to build a loyal audience and make revenue while they do it. If you want to monetize your YouTube videos, you’re going to need to get familiar with the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). Joining is a crucial step towards making money on the platform and one that creators across the world take every day. But what actually is the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) and what are the requirements to join?

As specialists in music for YouTube videos, we’ve spent years getting to know the ins and outs of the platform and have learnt everything there is to know about it. We’re going to impart some of that knowledge back onto you right now, and help you understand everything you need to know about the YouTube Partner Program requirements.

What is the YouTube Partner Program?

The YPP is something that YouTube created to give additional support to the creators on its platform. It allows you to monetize your content, while giving you access to resources, features and programs provided by YouTube themselves.

To make money from YouTube you have to be a member of the YouTube Partner Program. There’s no getting around it. To join, however, there are a number of requirements.

YouTube partner program

What are the YouTube Partner Program requirements?

Joining the YouTube Partner Program isn’t as simple as signing up for a YouTube account and clicking join. They want to make sure that the creators who are part of it are adding real value to their platform. This means they’ve created a set of requirements for entry.

Updated YouTube Partner Program access requirements as of June 2023 (for Canada, United Kingdom, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States):

  • Obtained 500 subscribers
  • 3 public uploads in the last 90 days
  • 3,000 watch hours in the past year or 3 million Shorts views in the last 90 days

Note: At this time, you won’t be able to monetize your videos with these new requirements – these are simply what’s needed to gain access. The requirements listed below still stand when it comes to monetization.

The previous YouTube Partner Program requirements were:

  • Activate 2-step verification on your Google account
  • Follow all of the YouTube monetization policies
  • Have no active community guideline strikes on your YouTube channel
  • Live somewhere that the YPP is available
  • 4,000 hours of valid public watch time in the last 12 months
  • Obtain at least 1,000 subscribers
  • Have an AdSense account linked to your YouTube account

That’s a short list, but some of the points are easier to achieve than others, and they may take a little getting your head around. So we’re going to break down each requirement and talk you through what it means. 

Activate 2-step verification on your Google account

This was introduced in November 2021. It allows you to secure your Google account more effectively. It’s now a requirement for any monetized account, so you’ll need to do it if you’re joining the YPP.

Follow all of the YouTube monetization policies and guidelines

These are a set of policies that YouTube has put together to make sure your channel doesn’t do anything that they’d not want to be associated with. The policies include their community guidelines, terms of service, copyright and Google Adsense policies. When you’re applying for the YPP, someone from YouTube will review your channel’s content to see how well you’re meeting the policies. They’ll check:

  • The main theme of your channel
  • Your most viewed videos
  • Your newest videos
  • The videos that receive the biggest proportion of your channel’s watch time
  • What’s included in your video’s metadata

They may also check other aspects of your channel. If you want to learn more about their community guidelines, check our guide on how to avoid YouTube demonetization.

You will need to avoid copyright claims and only add music you’re allowed to use. This means you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a music license for YouTube for any music you’re using in your content, and Lickd can help here.

Have no active community guidelines strikes on your YouTube channel

If you’ve already done something that breached the community guidelines, you may have a strike against your channel. You won’t be able to join the YouTube Partner Program until this is cleared. This includes copyright strikes.

Live somewhere that the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) is available

YouTube partner program requirements

Unfortunately, the YPP isn’t available in every country. Check out YouTube’s full list of where the YPP is available and see whether your country is eligible before you try and sign up.

Achieve 3,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months

Now, before you get excited, this doesn’t mean you get to watch 3,000 hours worth of YouTube videos yourself and you qualify. It means that you need to amass at least 3,000 hours across your own content from YouTube users. This could be on one video, or it could be across everything you’ve uploaded, but it will be based on the most recent 12 month period.

Live streams will count towards your total, which is good news. If you delete a video though, you’ll lose those hours! You also can’t use private videos for this. All of the views must be on public videos and content. The good news is that if your watch hour counts drop after you’ve joined the YPP, you won’t be kicked off.

Obtain at least 500 subscribers

This one is a little simpler. It’s simply the minimum number of subscribers your channel can have before you’ll be eligible, so get to work. Need some help? We’ve put together a guide on how to get subscribers on YouTube that could give you the headstart you need.

Have an AdSense account linked to your YouTube account

Google AdSense is the system used to display ads and allow you to make ad revenue from your videos. You’ll need to make sure you only have one AdSense account, you can sign up to AdSense here.

Once you’ve done this you’ll need to connect it to your account. You can link as many YouTube channels as you like to your AdSense account, but only one AdSense account to each YouTube account.

How to sign up for the YouTube Partner Program

How to successfully join the YPP YouTube Partner Program

Meeting the YouTube Partner Program terms is only one of the steps along the way to signing up. The steps for joining the YPP are:

  1. Turn on 2-factor authentication for your Google account
  2. Check over the YouTube Partner Program requirements we discussed above. A reminder, these are:
    1. Follow all of the YouTube monetization policies
    2. Have no active community guideline strikes on your channel
    3. Live somewhere that the YPP is available
    4. 3,000 hours of valid public watch time in the last 12 months
    5. Obtain at least 500 subscribers
    6. Connect an AdSense account your YouTube account
    7. Have 3 public uploads in the last 90 days
  3. Check whether you meet the criteria in your YouTube account and sign the YPP terms. To do this:
    1. Sign in to YouTube
    2. Click on your profile picture then browse to YouTube Studio
    3. Click ‘Monetization’
    4. You’ll be shown a checklist of the requirements. If you currently don’t meet them, click ‘Notify me when I’m eligible’. You’ll then get an email when you do.
    5. Once you meet them, click ‘Start’ on the ‘Review Partner Program terms’ card.
  4. Get reviewed by YouTube. Now you just need to sit and wait. You’ll be put into the queue and your application will be reviewed. This is a mixture of manual human review and automated checks. You’ll be able to check your application’s status on YouTube Studio.

Once you’ve been reviewed, you’ll either be accepted into YPP, congratulations if that’s the case, or rejected.

What to do if you’re rejected from the YPP

Not everyone gets accepted right away. If you do get rejected, don’t panic. You’ll usually be given a reason, so you should review that and check over your application. These reasons are usually generalized, however, and they won’t give you exact instances of what may have caused it. If you are rejected, follow the process again, double-check your content for any potential breaches of the community guidelines, and apply again after 30 days.

Use licensed music to meet the community guidelines

how to join the YouTube partner program

As you can see, meeting the community guidelines and pulling in viewers are two of the key factors to joining the YouTube Partner Program. Getting 500 subscribers and 3,000 valid watch hours means you need to be getting people’s attention and one of the best ways to do this is with content that really stands out. Lickd can help you do just that. We offer music licensing for YouTube videos so you can add the biggest chart tracks to your content and take your videos to the next level.

Licensing music with Lickd also means you’ll not have to worry about breaching community guidelines or getting a strike from Content ID. When you’ve officially licensed the music, you can use it in your YouTube content to your heart’s content. You’ll be another step along your way to joining the YPP. Using popular music from Lickd is also proven to increase creators’ YouTube stats across the board. More views, more engagement, longer watch times, and more, all resulting in more revenue! Try it out today with 25% off your first track.

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