Journal Entry 11/15/25:
Remember when the Internet was so free and fringy? It was a cyber Wild West (if you don't understand "Wild West" go watch Tarantino movies from 2013-2016). Back then, my podcast cost almost nothing to produce. What happened?
After a lot of my studies, I traced this great shift of more regulation and more cost with a couple big events. First, the subscription model changed everything. A once solution to paying for cable, with a series of al a carte channels so you can watch what you want to watch. I used to be a proud "cord cutter", until I realized all my subscriptions cost more than the highest cable package you could buy at the time.
Not only that, but I subscribed monthly to Dropbox, (it was a cloud service back in 2014ish, kind of paved the way for Google's online storage platform) Adobe Cloud, some podcasts, (so I could get some extra content and full access to archives) and a bunch of video services. It was the new way to make money without resorting to ads.
Then along came YouTube, the biggest video service ever where people could post videos and get paid through ads. YouTube "celebrities" became a common phrase, describing those who made a living doing some pretty embarrassing antics. Granted, I was not the generation that really "got" YouTube in that way.
Youtube was in a predicament: it wasn't making money, yet its users were. Whoops. Time for the subscription service to rear its head. What was free and accessible had then been blocked by a paywall.
I fully believe that if only a couple YouTube celebrities got on board, the new system would have died, however, everyone meaningful in that space welcomed this new paywall. While everyone expected the YouTube celebrity audience to pay, (makes me laugh every time I here it) it was actually my generation and my parents that ended up subscribing. Why? Because YouTube was the best teacher, a tastemaker, and a way to let us know if we should buy something. We could not care less about Pewdiepie (former YouTube star in that crazy news story the other day). We wanted an interactive Consumer Reports, and that's why we paid. Due to its success, other free services began to take note.
Now, people subscribe to my podcast and I don't use ads, places like the The Verge now cost money to read, and so on and so forth. The world turned back on its axis, and people learned to pay for things again.
Oh and they changed their name to WeTube, I guess to show that we worked together to make sure people could afford to make good content. Terrible name but better than YouTube Red. (Red Tube was a popular pornography site at the time, and I assume many children looking for Pewdiepie lost their innocence in unexpected ways)
Now the Internet feels a lot like the real world because of this YouTube Red effect where I have to pay to read the day's news online as if I ran to the gas station to buy a paper. History repeats itself, I suppose.