Working hard or hardly working? A little bit of both, really.
The Guardian reports on the new generation of YouTube stars: Streamers who get high and then capture the attention of thousands of subscribers on what’s casually referred to as “WeedTube.”
How do you convince people that getting high and then turning on your camera is a real job? It’s not easy, says one WeedTuber.
“It’s a pretty impossible conversation to have with just about anyone – Uber drivers, people in elevators,” Josh Young, creator of StrainCentral, told The Guardian. “I’m like, ‘I smoke pot on the internet, I guess?’”
If you’re wondering how it’s possible to make a living that way, wonder no more: StrainCentral has more than 377,000 subscribers. The videos Young, a 21-year-old medical cannabis patient in Washington who suffers from gastroparesis, posted in the last month have almost a million views.
But there’s more to it than just getting high and letting the clicks roll in. StrainCentral has reviews of new pot strains and products, instructional videos on how to make simple pipes out of household objects (for anyone under the age of 50, that means an apple bong), and the kind of viral content you’re used to seeing from all kinds of channels, just focused on cannabis. In one video, Josh attempts “The 4:20 Challenge”: seeing if he can smoke an eighth of an ounce of pot in less than four minutes and 20 seconds. (Spoiler alert: Nah, brah.)
It’s not easy being green and making green, though: Since Google’s AdSense program doesn’t allow monetization on age-restricted videos (a category that covers all marijuana content), so income has to come from sponsorships, merchandise sales, and branded content deals.
Joel Hradecky is “WeedTube’s irrefutable king,” in the words of the Guardian: his CustomGrow420 channel has more than 1.2 million subscribers. More than twice that many people have watched him attempt to smoke a one-gram dab … and then watched him cough for almost seven minutes after that attempt. Some just want to watch him stroll around an arcade and win a bunch of tickets, it seems:
Bryan Gerber, the 25-year-old co-founder and CEO of Hemper, a subscription-box company that sells smoking accessories, gives some insight into the financial aspect of WeedTube: He tells The Guardian that he pays streamers with more that 100,000 subscribers between $300 and $1,000 to promote his product on their channels, with a small bonus for new customer referrals.
Other WeedTubers disavow the pay-for-plays model, focusing on the creative aspect of speaking to an audience. Kimmy Tan, 22, a tattoo artist, musician and model, says she has had some bad experiences working with cannabis companies. Now, she goes sponsor-free while showing her subscribers what it’s like to take 100 hits in a row.
Santa Cruz WeedTuber Coral Reefer, 28, echoes Young’s comments about making as much from YouTube as she did from restaurant work, adding: “I really can only urge people to get into this industry if they have a message they want to share. If they’re looking for fame or money, I suggest porn or waitressing.”
To read the full article, go to TheGuardian.com.