To monetize your YouTube videos you have to be accepted into the YouTube Partner Program.
For you to be eligible, your channel needs to have 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours accumulated within a year.
This requirement is YouTube’s way of ensuring that it’s partnering only with strong channels to share profits from their advertising revenue.
But then, even if meet the subscriber and watch hour requirements, you may still not be eligible to be monetized if you don’t meet other YouTube terms and conditions.
One of them seems to be the use of text to speech instead of your own voice for your videos.
There’s much confusion over this matter, with some saying you can monetize YouTube videos with text-to-speech audio, while others say it’s a no-no.
Before we delve into this matter, let’s look at why you would want to use text-to-speech audio in your YourTube video, instead of your own voice.
Lack of a Good, Clear Voice or Accent
The primary reason for using text to speech is you believe your voice isn’t good enough to be recorded. Maybe it doesn’t have the clarity viewers expect. Or your speech is heavily accented that most folks can’t follow it.
Text-to-speech voices, especially the neural ones, are clear and sound professional.
Lack of Good Recording Equipment and Environment
To record good audio you need quality recording equipment. A good quality microphone is usually expensive, Even if you’re using an expensive microphone for YouTube, you’ll still need a noise-free environment. To many, having a separate sound-proof room for audio recording isn’t an option.
Test to speech voices sound as if they’ve been recorded with expensive equipment in a sound-proof studio.
Lack of Time and Energy
Even if you have a good voice and the right recording equipment and environment, you may not have the time and energy to record audio and edit it. Audio editing takes time and you may have to do several takes before you get things right.
Because you don’t have the time and energy for it, you have considered the text-to-speech option.
Improvement in Text to Speech Technology
One major complaint about text-to-speech voices is they sound robotic, tinny, and unnatural. Well, that may have been so in the past. AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology has vastly improved over the years. Premium text-to-speech voices sound almost humanlike.
Unless you’re a sound engineer, you and most folks can’t tell the difference between a text-to-speech voice and a human voice.
YouTube’s Stand on Text-to-Speech
YouTube has not made a direct statement on disallowing monetization for channels with text-to-speech videos.
However, it has issued guidelines on the type of content that violates its policies.
Here’s a list that seems to apply to the usage of text-to-speech voices.
- “Content that exclusively features readings of other materials you did not originally create, like text from websites or news feeds.
- Songs modified to change the pitch or speed, but are otherwise identical to the original.
- Similar repetitive content, or mindless content with low educational value, commentary, or narrative.
- Templated, mass-produced, or programmatically generated content.
- Image slideshows or scrolling text with minimal or no narrative, commentary, or educational value.“
Source: YouTube Help
If you’re trying to monetize your YouTube videos with text-to-speech voices ensure that you don’t run foul of the items above.
Also, look at this statement from YouTube from the same source above.
“The spirit of this policy is to make sure we’re monetizing original content that adds value to viewers.”
The key here is that you must be producing original content and the content must benefit viewers.
So, if you’re using text-to-speech voices to read public domain books, then YouTube isn’t going to monetize your channel, because you’re not creating original content. Even if you use your own voice to read text from websites, you’ll still run foul of the first policy.
Similarly, if you’re doing 10 videos with text-to-speech voices on the health benefits of milk, without much difference between them, hoping different viewers would find any of these videos, then you’ll be in trouble with YouTube.
Always focus on educational value and commentary or narrative. Educational value doesn’t simply mean stating facts without commentary.
Let’s say you’re writing about the health benefits of bananas, you don’t just state their nutritional benefits, but also include your own banana shake recipe and show viewers steps to make it. That’s providing value and being educational.
To clarify the matter further, here’s the experience of one channel owner who has successfully monetized his channel using text-to-speech videos.
Monetized YouTube Channels with Text-to-Speech Voices
Despite the many so-called ‘experts’ (some who don’t even have YouTube channels and some voice actors) out there disagreeing that you can monetize Youtube videos with text-to-speech voices, there’s evidence that such channels are flourishing on YouTube for years in the YouTube Partner Program.
Here are some monetized channels that use text-to-speech voices.
This channel has 282 videos with text-to-speech voices and has garnered a total of 11.5 million views and has 39.9k subscribers.
Below is a video from a product review channel that uses a text-to-speech voice.
This channel has a total of 5 million views from 700 videos.
Below is another popular product review channel, driven by text-to-speech videos.
This channel has a total of 378 million views from 23,800 videos and 676K subscribers. These subscribers seem not to be complaining that the channel is using text-to-speech voices.
If you look hard enough over YouTube, you’ll find more of such channels with text-to-speech videos.
As mentioned earlier, if you’re going to use text-to-speech voices, you must be creating useful content with educational value. One type of video that will qualify is a how-to video in the form of tutorials.
If you’re really providing quality instruction with your original script, it’s highly unlikely YouTube will penalize you for using text-to-speech voices to enhance a video’s educational value.