It’s never easy to start over, on the internet or in life, but that’s just what Grace Helbig is doing right now. The online video star, who won the heart of the internet largely with her YouTube channel Daily Grace, has split with YouTube network My Damn Channel. As the rights to Daily Grace belong to My Damn Channel, Helbig now has to rebuild her YouTube following on the new independent channel It’s Grace.
While It’s Grace currently has over 300,000 subscribers, the original Daily Grace account had at peak 2.4 million subscribers. According to VidStatsX, it has been dropping dramatically every day since the beginning of the year, when the channel shifted to posting, essentially, reruns.
If you’re a Daily Grace fan, there’s nothing on the YouTube channel to indicate where you might find new Helbig content; however, over the past several days, Helbig’s new channel has been the focal point of a rallying cry.
Folks from Hank and John Green to Wil Wheaton to ex-Attack of the Show host Kevin Pereira have urged their followers across all of social media to subscribe to It’s Grace,. Hank Green has been especially vocal on the topic, writing on Tumblr:
Not owning your content is a terrible (though not unusual) thing…it means that the company who does own your content can hold your stuff hostage and do anything they want with it. They can make you do things you don’t want to do. I’m not saying this is what My Damn Channel was doing to Grace, but I am saying I do COMPLETELY understand Grace not wanting to be part of that anymore.
What Helbig’s situation puts into sharp relief is the oddness of ownership when it comes to YouTube creators. Helbig’s brother Tim (also a YouTuber) highlighted this with his most recent tweet:
My Damn Channel, of course, doesn’t own Helbig herself, but its contract with her does give them the rights to the content made and the following built while she was an employee. When It’s Grace launches tomorrow (now today), it’ll likely maintain Helbig’s signature vlog style, developed over the past five years of Daily Grace updates.
I think what's happened to Grace marks a huge turning point in self-made, internet content and the risk you take when you start signing on with partners/sponsors/etc...