Creator Awards (more commonly known as Play Buttons) act as a reward for content creators hitting a chosen number of subscribers as being recognized by YouTube. These are distinct from the YouTube Awards, which were intended to recognize the best quality videos.
The Play Buttons are based on a channel's subscriber count, but are awarded at the sole discretion of YouTube – each channel is reviewed before an award is issued, to ensure the channel follows YouTube's community guidelines.
When a verified YouTuber reaches a specific milestone and is deemed eligible for a YouTube Creator Reward, they are awarded a relatively flat trophy in a metal casing with glass paneling and a YouTube play button symbol, as well as featuring the creator channel name's embossed on it. The trophies are of different sizes: each button and plaque gets progressively bigger the more subscribers the channel gets.
At the moment there are five different Play Button tiers that you can get:
- The Silver Play Button at 100,000 Subscribers, made out of 92% nickel, 5% carbon and 2.5% zinc, with traces of other metals.
- The Golden Play Button at 1 million Subscribers, made out of gold-plated brass.
- The Diamond Play Button at 10 million Subscribers, made out of silver-plated metal inset with a large piece of colorless crystal. This award is in the shape of a play button triangle, excluding the metal casing.
- The Custom Play Button at 50 million Subscribers. At the moment, 12 YouTube channels have received this award, PewDiePie, T-Series, 5-Minute Crafts, WWE, Canal KondZilla, Cocomelon, SET India, Justin Bieber, Zee Music Company, Like Nastya, Dude Perfect, and Kids Diana Show. It is unknown if Canal KondZilla got his Custom Play Button.
- The Red Diamond Play Button at 100 million subscribers, made out of silver-plated metal inset with a large piece of dark red crystal. Currently, T-Series and PewDiePie are the only ones who have received this award. A 3rd one is currently being displayed at the Musée Baccarat museum in Paris, France. This award will remain at the museum until the next channel reaches 100 million subscribers.
Recently, Youtube has introduced 2 new awards that are available for purchase on the Society Awards website after a creator has surpassed either 100,000 or 1 million subscribers. These 2 new awards consist of sheet of metal, either silver or gold in color, that have either the text of the 100,000 or 1 million subscriber letter stamped on them, put on a piece of acrylic plastic.
At VidCon 2012's Industry Day event, YouTube executive Tim Shey introduced the Gold Play Button were to be awarded to creators who have had their channels surpass one million subscribers. At the time of the announcement, 78 channels qualified for the award. Also, Shey announced that channels with over 100,000 subscribers would receive a $500 gift card and a DSLR camera case. Channels with over 100,000 subscribers would later be eligible to receive a Silver Play Button.
Three years later, at VidCon 2015, Matthew Glotzbach, YouTube's Vice President of Product Management announced the introduction of the Diamond Play Button. At the time of this award's introduction, 35 channels qualified for it.
On December 19th, 2016, PewDiePie received the first-ever Custom (Ruby) Play Button along with several mini-awards. It is in the shape of PewDiePie's brofist channel logo and is a translucent red.
YouTube redesigned its play buttons as of March 1, 2017, as well as their build. This includes the Silver and Gold play buttons, with a much sleeker look. The old version of the Silver Play Button, for instance, was made of a nickel-plated cupronickel alloy and featured a glass panel with a metal framework.
At the moment, it is unsure whether the Custom play button will be redesigned completely to fit the creator's logo, as seen in Felix's, or feature a similar triangular base with crystal engraving like T-Series' from that point on.
Fan-Made Custom Play Buttons
Often users like to get a bit crafty with their Play Buttons, either to match their brand or to simply forge something for viewership. These variations are fake and unrecognized by YouTube. An example of this is can be Kwebbelkop's Orange Play Button. Other YouTubers who have made custom play buttons include:
- PressTube, who made a glowing blue play button, as well as one made out of gold.
- Life of Boris, who stitched his leather play button.
- How To Make Everything, who made his play button using obsidian, gold, silver, copper, penny bronze, and clear glass; materials from 6 of his most popular videos.
- BrainfooTV, who cast a mini play button using real silver bullion.
- Mad Stuff With Rob, who created an Emerald Play Button for himself.
- JackSucksAtLife who made his own "profile picture" award, as well as drawing some cool designs on his main channel silver play button to hide a dent in it he made when he dropped it accidentally.
- Kristian PH who created his own DIY Play Button for himself.
- Ryguyrocky, who made a custom red, white, and black hydro dipped gold play button for his friend, JackSucksAtLife.
As an Individual, JackSucksAtLife has the most, with at least twelve creator awards from YouTube, as well as two fake awards he bought from eBay and Etsy, an award from Wikitubia for being the 34th member of the Wikitubia Hall of Fame that was prompted by Wikitubia's Twitter account getting 3000 followers, a self-made "profile picture" award, a hydro-dipped Gold Play Button he received from Ryguyrocky, and the chest that PewDiePie's 100 Million Subscriber award came in. Jack also found an exploit where you buy YouTube play buttons and he managed to get a diamond play button although he only has 1.3 million subscribers as of August 1, 2020. His official YouTube awards include his original silver award he received in 2014 when his channel was called JackSucksAtMinecraft, updated silver awards for his channels JackSucksAtLife, JackSucksAtStuff, Jack Massey Welsh, JackSucksAtGeography, turd boi420, and his old channel SamSmellsOfApricots, a gold award for JackSucksAtLife, a gold award that Skeppy bought for Jack that has Skeppy's name on it, a diamond award that has KSI's name on it, as well as a Gold and Silver letter, which are relatively new additions to the YouTube Creator Award library. Additionally, Jack's new channel JackSucksAtPopUpPirate currently has over 100,000 subscribers, but Jack has not received a Silver award for it yet
YouTube Originally gave out a Director's Chair and a Camera Bag with YouTube prints prior to 2014.