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YouTube Creator imuRgency poses with his YouTube Creator Award

Celebrating 10 years of YouTube Creator Awards

From a gold play button in a frame to the highly-coveted plaque we give out today, YouTube Creator Awards are our way of recognizing creators for their passion and success.

Celebrating creators is one of our favorite things to do at YouTube — and for 10 years, we have recognized those that have grown their audience and built a platform for themselves by honoring them with the YouTube Creator Awards. Countless creators have achieved great success, and YouTube’s Creator Awards Program has been our formal, global recognition program for those that have reached subscriber milestones.

A framed gold play button plaque Creator Award honoring one million subscribers

A few weeks back at this year’s VidCon, we commemorated 10 years of the YouTube Awards with a mini exhibition, highlighting the evolution of YouTube Awards. Though the awards themselves may have gone through some design changes, they’ve always symbolized a creator’s accomplishment: the countless hours of time, effort and creativity that went into developing content, growing their channels and engaging with their viewers.

So whether that’s an award for 100,000 or 10 million subscribers, we have loved seeing the community and comradery that has grown around the excitement of receiving these awards in the form of unboxing videos and milestone celebrations.

Where passions become businesses

When we first gave away the original Creator Award — a simple play button inside of a frame — we couldn’t have imagined the status symbol they would become for both creators and their fans. Today, we award creators with Silver (100K subscribers), Gold (1M subscribers), Diamond (10M subscribers) and Red Diamond (100M subscribers). Each tier reflects the impact each creator has had and the contributions they’ve made to culture, society, the economy and people’s daily lives.

In fact, in our latest YouTube Impact Report, we found that creators in the US have contributed over $25 billion to the US GDP and created an estimated 425,000 full-time equivalent jobs. The past 10 years of awarded creators shows how they have been able to not only grow an audience, but change their lives through launching ancillary products and businesses – thus perpetuating the expansion of the creator economy.

What truly demonstrates the power of creators’ success is how we continue to see many first recipients of the Gold Creator Award still thriving today on YouTube. Philip Wang, co-founder of Wong Fu Productions, started a channel producing music videos and short films that has since become a successful independent digital production company. “It was so cool when we got our first award. Not only was hitting 1M subscribers a huge accomplishment, but for YouTube to acknowledge it definitely gave us a sense of validation and motivation. I'm grateful that we got the very first iteration of the award, which was actually quite hefty back then!” he shares.

While it was very cool to receive my 10M subscriber play button in person at YouTube Creator Summit, I still think my original 1M subscriber plaque holds a special place.”


Another example is CaptainSparklez who has amassed an impressive audience of more than 11M subscribers and over 3B views as a Minecraft gamer. “I was lucky enough to be part of the first round of 1M subscriber plaques that were sent out,” he explains. “While it was very cool to receive my 10M subscriber play button in person at YouTube Creator Summit, I still think my original 1M subscriber plaque holds a special place.”

Creators will always be the heart of YouTube, and the awards are our symbol of recognition, appreciation and a testament to the level of community these creators have formed and how devoted they are to their viewers. When YouTube Creator Award recipients are announced, fans take to social media to celebrate and applaud them. Harnessing and celebrating the connection between creators and viewers has been an integral part of the success of YouTube, and we look forward to celebrating the next 10 years of creators!