A Multichannel Network (MCN) is supposed to benefit creators by helping with YouTube’s messed up Content ID system, one that doesn’t benefit reviews and video essay creators as well as “let’s players”, as well as making sure other channels aren’t uploading your videos to a different channel like they do old and even recent TV shows. However, the MCN only works when the people behind it do their job correctly. Defy Media was one of those MCNs until it recently shut down.
However, this isn’t the full story. Defy Media’s quick shutdown caused a lot of trouble for YouTubers using their services, because MCNs do not operate the way you’d expect, and this led to, intentionally or otherwise, Defy stealing from their now networkless membership. MatPat of the Game and Film Theorists put a video up on the Game Theory channel talking about how Defy basically screwed them over at a very bad point in their lives to do so, just after Matthew Patrick and his wife had a newborn son. In this video he discusses how multichannel networks operate, the flaws in the business model, especially for creators under them, and how this let to $1.7 million being taken collectively from the channels that were part of Defy Media’s network both big like the Theorists and small. If you’re thinking about using an MCN to help fight Content ID and preserve your own content, you may want to see this cautionary tale so you go in with the facts and join an actually helpful network.
Note that’s not saying never join a multichannel network. He gives tips for dealing with them where you aren’t damaged and advocates a new system where MCNs aren’t in a position to hurt you. I don’t use one myself because I don’t make videos nearly as often and it’s more for this site and possibly a resume than trying to be big on YouTube. I kind of doubt it’s possible to become a big success considering the sea of big names and the way YouTube handles their partners currently, MCN or not. Not impossible but not very possible. Hopefully he and the other 49 creators, especially the smaller ones who really need the money they earned, will get their money back.