YouTube Play Buttons: All Types of Play Buttons Explained

We all love those videos where our favorite Youtubers are overjoyed and jumping in anticipation because their YouTube Play Buttons have arrived. 

Their excitement is out of the roof, some are crying, hopping, and mostly giving out a heartfelt thank you speech to the fans.

And why not? All their hard work to create the most unique videos getting recognized by YouTube itself sure deserves a speech and a toast. 

What are the YouTube Play Buttons? 

So, what are those shiny, metallic pieces with the play button carved on them? And what so special about them? 

Well, the YouTube Play Button is an official recognition and reward by YouTube to the content creators for doing exceptional work. That’s right, it’s Youtuber getting awarded for their blood, sweat, and tears. (Well, you get the point) Receiving this award isn’t so simple. 

The awards are a flat metallic body, the metals and their sizes change based on the subscriber count.

The edge being embedded in glass panels and a logo of the play button is designed on the center. What’s special is the Youtuber’s name or their channel’s name inscribed on the trophy. 

YouTubers have to reach a certain number of followers before they are even considered for the eligibility of this award. More commonly, YouTube refers to the play button as part of their creators’ award. 


YouTube Play Buttons Levels 

You don’t get awarded for having merely 5000 or 10,000 subscribers. Every starter having a camera would have hands on the play button if that were the case. 

Currently, YouTubers get rewarded with the play button recognition with 5 levels of milestones:

1. Silver Play Button

Credit: Freepik

The first of the levels that recognized YouTube channels with 100,000 subscribers is the Silver Play Button. This reward is the first milestone for any content creator on the platform looking to make it big. 

The Silver Play button is made of almost all nickel and small percentages of carbon and zinc, forged to create a 12x10x0.5 inches square piece, labeled “Congrats for surpassing 100,000 subscribers.” 

Some of you might also know that the silver play button has gone through a major design change in March 2017, and had a nickel alloy plated window box design.

The change is even welcome among the YouTubers as the new design looks cleaner and more elegant. 

Smallest in size among all the other awards, the Silver Play button also has the content creator’s name engraved on it.

Once one of the video creators reaches 100,000 marks, they would possibly receive the play button at their doorsteps within a span of 6 weeks.

2. Gold Play Button

youtube gold play button

The second in line among the Creator Awards is the Golden Play button that is an official reward for the hard work and creativity of Youtubers with 1 million subscribers. 

You heard that right. The jump from silver play button to golden play button is a rather huge one, and certainly not an easy one.

That’s one reason why so many have a silver play button to their names, but never make it to the next level. 

In appearance, the gold play button looks fairly similar to its silver predecessor, only the plated cover is made of gold brass and the size is bigger in length and breadth.

Likewise, it has the line, “Congrats for surpassing 1,000,000 subscribers” and the reward is appraised with a letter of congratulation.

What Is the YouTube Gold Play Button Made Of?

In 2017, the gold play button has also undergone a change in design. Personally, I loved the older design that sported a dark backdrop, and a gold button in a window-framed look.

The change was primarily brought about when more and more YouTube was getting the 1 million feats.

To adjust the cost of manufacture these awards, the glass frame on the window box design was dropped. Currently, the YouTube gold play button is made out of gold-plated brass.

Unfortunately, for the likes of people like me, the three-dimensional look was let go as well. 

3. Diamond Play Button 

Diamond play button

Youtube awards the Diamond Play Button to their prodigy content creators who have managed to attract at least 10 million subscribers. Yes, you read that right, 10 million!

Unlike the other gold and silver play buttons, the diamond one is in the shape of a triangular play button and is designed with silver-plated frames that have clear, large shards of crystals on them.

Instead of the award being framed, the award is a structure in itself. Edgy, eye-catching, and unique! 

Before the inauguration of this award in 2015, the diamond play button wasn’t in the books of Creator Awards of YouTube.

In a special event at Vidcon, the first YouTube channel to ever reach a 10 million subscriber mark, Smosh, revealed this new revolutionary prize. 

While 2015s was a year when obtaining 10 million subscribers was an ambition of the dreams for any content creator, the next 6 years saw a rapid rise in the number of YouTubers who have attained and crossed 10 million subscribers. 

Some of the prevalent YouTube channels that have received the Diamond Play buttons are perhaps the ones you and I are already subscribed to.

From Boyce Avenue, Sky Does Everything, Ryan’s World to Buzzfeed Video, these channels are all part of the Diamond play button club. 

4. Custom Play Button

BLACKPINK custom play button

The Custom Play button is sometimes referred to as the Ruby Play button. It is neither framed nor does it have any specified shape or structure.

The custom to its name means the award itself will be forged into the shape of the YouTube channel’s logo. How interesting, right? 

However, as interesting as it may sound, this pinnacle is not easy to attain. YouTubers who have reached 50 million subscribers receive this recognition from YouTube. And we thought 10 million was a dream subscriber count! 

Can you guess who was the first Youtuber to have the custom play button to their name? None other than the notorious, PewdiePie.

Currently standing at 110 million subscribers, the content creator reached 15 million subscribers back in 2016. He was one of the first who introduced the net world to the concept of vlog and formatted shows. 

Now, who doesn’t remember PewdiePie and T-Series battling it out for the top spot in the battle for the most subscribers on YouTube?

T-Series was the second YT channel to claim the custom play button, the only competitor for PewDiePie back in the day. 

As of 2022, there are 15 YouTube channels in total that have received Creator Awards designed based on their logo. Apart from the top 2, Cannel KondZilla and BLACKPINK redeemed their play button in 2019. 

The latest custom play button went to the famed Mr. Beast; who reached 50 million in January this year. 

 The reason the custom play button has been referred to as the ruby play button for many years comes in relation to PewDiePie having the first claim to it.

Much like his channel logo, the award was ruby in color. His unboxing video of the reward itself has 86 million views! 

5. Red Diamond Play Button

Red Diamond Play Button

And it doesn’t end at the custom play button. The highest award and the pretty looking red diamond play button are rewarded to YouTube channels that have surpassed 100 million subscribers!

This Creators Award is surely a special one, as it is a rare one. To date, only 4 channels have claimed this play button, the first being – you’ve already guessed – PewDiePie! 

T-Series, Cocomelon, and SET India are the only other channels all around the world to have surpassed so many subscribers. However, the T series and PewDiePie are the only ones who have claimed the Red Diamond Play Button so far. 

The special award comes in a briefcase and is made with a reddish-black glass all over, with baccarat crystal in the center, shining out in its gleaming redness. 


How To Get YouTube Play Buttons

Although the number of subscribers is what determines whether a video blogger gets this award or not, the final decision is only taken by YouTube after careful review of every video uploaded by the creator. 

There are 3 basic steps involved in the process: 

1. Eligibility Check 

This is the part YouTube is considerably serious about. And here’s exactly where a lot of content creators reaching the given subscriber mark get pushed out of the race of receiving the play buttons. 

Each YouTube content must check all the boxes of community guidelines issued by YouTube. You must play by the rules to qualify for the play button and who decides if you’ve played by the rules? Only YouTube Creator Awards management. 

If you’ve breached copyright limits or created a video that might be flagged as violent or inappropriate, you’re automatically out of the race, according to YouTube. 

And how does Youtube know this? They scrutinize and review each of the videos posted on the channel. This is the first and most important procedure other than achieving the milestone subscriber counts. 

2. Redemption claim

If Youtuber Abbie has surpassed a million subscribers on her cooking channel, YouTube will review her channel. Next, they would send her a notification about the approval of their channel for the play button reward. 

They receive this approval notice within one week from the day they surpass the subscriber limit. In case someone has not received any notice within 3 weeks of reaching the milestone, they may want to contact the customer’s support. 

Now, how and why is a Youtuber required to “redeem” this award? The redemption code that is sent by YouTube along with the approval notice is simply a confirmation code.

Almost similar to a code we receive when we order something online or open a new Gmail account. 

Once you get the redemption code, all you have to do is fill out the details about your channel name and delivery address. 

3. Award Delivery

The details are important because remember, your award will be handcrafted with your channel’s name embedded on the very trophy. 

After you have redeemed your awards and provided them with all the necessary information, it’s time to hold your breath and wait. 

It can take about 2 or 3 weeks for your award to be made and delivered to your doorstep. Remember, this delivery time largely depends on your geographical location at the moment. 


Play Button Eligibility Checklist

Back in the day when the play buttons were first introduced, obtaining the said number of articles was enough to get a content creator this prestigious recognition.

Does this mean few could steal their way through the awards? Well, YouTube wouldn’t let that happen. 

Here’s a list of rules that a YouTube channel must follow to be considered for the play button rewards. This is of course on top of surpassing subscriber counts: 

1. Good Standing: YouTube makes it loud and clear that any content creator or channel wanting to be part of the play button community must have “good standing”. 

Good standing simply means having a moral reputation and popularity along with the required number of followers. And the most important, having ORIGINAL content! 

2. No Copyright Breaches: If any content on the platform received the copyright disclaimer, it means that someone else claims ownership of the content. 

Whether it’s a clip in the video, dialogue, or the background music, getting caught on the copyright act could well disqualify you from the winners’ list. 

3. YouTube Community Guidelines: Content on the play button contender’s channel must follow all YouTube Community Guidelines. This includes staying away from deceptive practices and creating violent or sensitive content.  

4. YouTube’s Terms of Service: The detailed regulations of what conducts and contents one can upload are mentioned in Youtube’s Terms of Service. Failure to stick by the rules according to this template may result in disqualification as well.  


Final Thoughts

From what I know, YouTube takes its appreciation of the YouTube play buttons seriously and wants to make sure it only goes to the best.

For the same reason, YouTube has recently become more vigilant of which creators play by the rules and ones who don’t. 

Whether it’s the gold play button or the custom one, coming up with original content and attracting millions of subscribers is the base rule of receiving one!

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2 thoughts on “YouTube Play Buttons: All Types of Play Buttons Explained”

    • Hi, Bronze isn’t an official play button given by YouTube. However, when you cross 10,000 subscribers, you’re promoted to bronze level and this level adds a Teespring monetization option. The official play buttons start at 100,000 subscribers only i.e., Silver play button. Hope that helps 🙂

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