Before we get into ASMR as a career on YouTube, let’s start with the basics. Anyone looking to start a career on YouTube is in for a different experience than they probably believe. While they’re amongst an entire generation of self-employing content creators, that’s one of the biggest issues. How do you compete with millions of other YouTube channels, not just to be able to make money off of your channel, but to get the amount of viewership necessary to be recognized? As you take a look into some of the most popular YouTube channels in the world, certain characteristics tend to pop up. First, the charisma that goes behind having a strong online presence. I can’t think of any better example of this kind of personality on YouTube than Jenna Marbles. This once night club dancer turned YouTube star is not afraid to show her true personality in all kinds of ways in her videos. She’s unafraid of speaking her unpopular opinions, and that’s something millennials starve for. Therefore, her kind of “new-age charisma” and character brand her channel into something only Jenna Marbles is able to get away with. If you’re unfamiliar with Jenna, I’m going to include one of her videos. Nothing could be more fitting than her sarcastic, parody-like take on how to make a YouTube video.
“How To Make A YouTube Video”
Back to ASMR
After examining the tendencies of YouTube channels in general, we can go back to ASMR. Now, ASMR is different because it doesn’t take as much of a personality as stated in one of my previous blogs. ASMR videos are about relaxation and visual/audio stimuli more than they’re about who makes the best jokes or can do their makeup better than any other similar channel. ASMR takes more practice and skill in the production of its videos. While it takes everyone awhile to grasp the concept of what makes their videos successful on YouTube, it can come a lot slower for that of ASMR. Take editing software for instance. Everyone on YouTube needs a good editing routine to make their videos clean cut and prepared, but this is magnified a 100 times over in ASMR due to the fact that the videos are putting on more of an “illusion”. If that illusion breaks because of awkward lighting, pauses in dialogue, abrupt sounds in the background, the relaxation for the viewer breaks as well. Therefore it takes decent editing software and know-how to avoid these mistakes in order to gain more views, and that, in turn, costs a lot of money.
I’ve mentioned the popular ASMR channel HeatherFeather before in my blog, and we’re going to take a look at some of her other media outlets that she uses to communicate with her dedicated viewers. Along with her YouTube channel and Reddit presence, she has a blog where she checks in with her viewers, gives sneak peeks of future videos, and shares some of her own favorite ASMR triggers and memories.
This is a great example of the networking that is also necessary to gain the viewership one needs to make ASMR into a career. In a quick Google search, the guidelines of using YouTube as monetary gain are as follows: contrary to popular belief, you don’t gain a set amount of money for every thousand or so views you have. You gain money based on your audience’s engagement with the ads placed before, during, or after your videos. Some channels have private deals where a company will recognize their ability to gain online traffic, and offer them a stipend for mentioning their product in one of their videos. There’s also different kinds of ads that are placed. There could be cost per click, or CPC, ads that charge money per amount of clicks that users engage with. There’s also CPV, or clicks per view, which means the money is given only if the user views the clip for longer than thirty seconds. Regardless the technique in which the money is given, it’s more than clear that it is a far less reliable source than of a regular salary-based career.
ASMR and Fair Use
I want to briefly touch on a part of Heather Feather’s blog and also an interview she did with ASMRyouready.com that explains a legal matter she faced over one of her videos. The basic story is this: Heather spent months making a video, titled, “After the Battle” where she had used stock footage in the beginning that she got from a free use site. Soon after, she was notified about “matched third party content” and had to fight to keep her video and channel up. She was able to rid her video of the claims, but in the months that the video was up, she had to continually fight for her rights of free use. She then was forced to take the video down and re-upload it without the footage from before. This goes to show two important things. First, there’s complications in any work you create and then release on the internet. Second, there’s a constant drive to create new and different content for your viewers. Heather mentioned she spent months on the video, which could seem excessive for those who are unaware of ASMR. However, when maintaining your channel and social media presence is your only task concerning your livelihood, it makes sense that you could quite possibly spend most hours of most of your days trying to create the best experience possible for your viewers. If there’s anything we know about this generation, it is that if you don’t keep them constantly occupied with new, “trendy” topics, they will leave and find their fix elsewhere.
Not a Casual Career
In the interview mentioned above with ASMRyouready, Heather quotes, “Making ASMR videos definitely changes your real life. I have much less time to do other things, because I am always working on my channel. I get an average of 4 hours of sleep a night. I don’t go out as much as I used to. I miss the sun sometimes, haha. You definitely make sacrifices for your channel…” That’s the basic understanding of YouTube content that creators have, and viewers don’t seem to understand. After attempting to create my own ASMR video, I wonder sometimes while watching others if they’re able to find ASMR relaxing at all anymore after their 500th or 1,000th ASMR creation. You have to have the drive to make something like ASMR into a career when for most it’s just more of a hobby. The main question to ask yourself is, “Am I getting more out of it than I’m giving?” The answer becomes easier to understand once you try our hand at becoming a YouTube/ASMR commodity.
 JennaMarbles, How To Make A YouTube Video (YouTube, 2014)
 HeatherFeather (YouTube)
 Reddit.com, ASMR: Sounds That Feel Good
 HeatherFeather (BlogSpot)
 VideoPower.org, How Many Views Does it Take to Make Money on YouTube?
 ASMRYouReady.com, ASMR Community
 Rebekah Smith, ASMR Interviewed: Heather Feather (ASMRYouReady, 2015)
 HeatherFeather, ASMR After The Battle: Sci-Fi Suit Repair Role Play For Relaxation (Binaural) (Reupload) (YouTube, 2014)