The YouTube mobile apps and website have reopened comments on the auto-generated videos that are created for music. 

Update 12/24: YouTube now says you “can have comments shown on Art Tracks on your official channel.” Official Artist Channels in YouTube Studio can set (Settings > Channel status and features > Community > Defaults) comment preferences to “Allow all comments” or “Hold potentially inappropriate comments for review.”

Once the channel’s comment setting is set to “Allow all comments” or “Hold potentially inappropriate comments for review,” you’ll be able to select Remove next to a comment on your Art Track to hide the comment.

The default for comments is set to off “if the primary artist doesn’t have an Official Artist Channel.”

Original 12/20: Those automatically generated music/song videos are officially known as “Art Tracks.” It “consists of the sound recording and the album art” to “ensure that YouTube has a complete music catalog and appears in album playlists and in search results.” On mobile, the video player is a square.

Currently, official music videos are available for recordings only when a label or artist invests (non-trivial) time and resources into producing one. Art Tracks automate the creation of versions for recordings even if they don’t have a produced music video.

Around December of 2020, YouTube officially said “comments on automatically generated Art Tracks are turned off.” That policy remains unchanged today, but in the past few weeks people have regained the ability to leave comments on these auto-generated videos.

Some users really enjoyed talking about music on YouTube and were dismayed by the closure of comments. It’s not clear if this return is permanent, with some pointing out how this could be related to recent changes and possibly unintended on Google’s part. The policy would lend credence to that, but until then, people are embracing the return.

The unmoderated nature of those open comment sections are a nontrivial issue, but there are clear upsides for boosting engagement. This feature does not exist in the YouTube Music clients, but would be an interesting idea for making the app more than just for content consumption. It would make YouTube Music a quasi social network for music, a la iTunes Ping.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: