In a nutshell

  • YouTubers quit for various reasons, such as burnout, waning passion for the craft and wanting to focus on creating — not running a business.
  • As YouTube approaches its 20th anniversary, it’s likely that more long-time creators will retire from YouTube.
  • Despite stepping back from their original platforms or content, many retired YouTubers continue to engage in creative work, exploring new creative avenues.

There is an onslaught of YouTubers quitting or stepping back from creating. Well-known YouTubers like MatPat, Tom Scott, Seth Everman and more are announcing their retirement.

Why are many popular YouTubers quitting? There are many reasons: burnout, less focus on creating, the rise of short-form video and so on. This article will take a deeper look into why YouTubers are quitting at a high rate.

Burnout

Popular channels require constant attention. YouTubers film, edit, brainstorm, market, and so much more. All of this, on top of posting regularly, can really wear even the most passionate creators down after a while. In fact, MatPat, one of YouTube’s longest-active YouTubers, noted burnout as one of the reasons why he decided to step away from hosting The Theorists channels. MatPat uploaded aGoodbye Videoexplaining the reason for his departure. It is obvious the passion and care MatPat has for the channel as he refers to it as his “first child.” He explains that he and his wife “have been work-first for over a decade.” He continues to say that they “couldn’t do this forever” and dives into how much it has taken over his life.

Creator burnout is incredibly common. A 2021 study found that 90 percent of content creators have experienced burnout at some point. Additionally, 71 percent of the study participants said that they had considered quitting creating content altogether. Considering MatPat has been at YouTube for nearly 13 years, it’s incredible he’s been able to keep up with his schedule as long as he did. And many legacy YouTubers are reaching a point similar to MatPat’s, where they are looking to do something new and fresh.

Having to be a manager over a creator

As YouTubers grow their channels, many aspire to create bigger and better content faster to fulfill expectations. This means that these YouTubers need additional help and need to hire people to help out. This turns channels into businesses and usually forces the original creator to become a manager of their team. This can prove to be very different than working on content alone. While some creators transition smoothly into the manager role, some simply don’t want to be managers. For example, when Tom Scott dropped hisGoodbye Video,” he revealed that his goal was to post weekly for 10 years and he had now achieved it. Then, he explains that to continue the channel, he is left with two choices: Keep going or quit. In order to keep going he would have to hire employees and become a manager, he explains — something he said he has no passion to do. He explains that he is a creator not a manager. So, he chose the latter of the options. Although he will continue to create through different formats like the podcast Lateral, he is taking a hard step back from his main channel.

Loss of passion 

Many channels and YouTubers, especially ones that have been around for over a decade, often started as passion projects. However, as time passes, it’s possible for that passion to diminish. There’s no specific reason why some YouTubers lose passion for content creation. Be it boredom, the demanding grind, or simply wanting to transition to something new in life, losing passion often leads to YouTubers quitting. Take former YouTuber Seth Everman, for instance. On January 1, 2023, Seth Everman announced his retirement from content creation. He explains that he has lost his “spark” over the past three years and has had an overall negative experience online. While he reminisces on his time on YouTube fondly, he said it was time for him to retire.

Will more YouTubers retire?

YouTubers quitting isn’t a new phenomenon as we’ve seen it with creators like Jenna Marbles and Filthy Frank. With YouTube near its 20th birthday, it’s likely more YouTubers who’ve had a long career with the platform will want to try something new and retire. But, as YouTuber Ludwig explains in a Mogul Mail upload, YouTubers, often times, are not actually retiring in the traditional sense. He explains that many big names are just stopping the format that made them famous. For example, MatPat will still be working on The Theorist channels, but behind the scenes and Tom Scott will continue to record his podcast.

We are undoubtedly going to see more YouTubers “retire” in the coming months and years. However, many of these creators aren’t going to completely vanish from the industry. Instead, they will likely look for new ways to flex their creative muscles and work towards completing new goals and aspirations. After all, people’s aspirations, regardless if they are a massive YouTuber or not, often change once they complete their goals, and that’s something to celebrated.

Featured image courtesy: The Food Theorists