The Great YouTube Migration

Published: 2019-10-28 02:58 |

Category: Technology | Tags: google brand accounts, google education, gsuite, gsuite edu, youtube, youtube-dl

It's begun.

This summer, YouTube deactivated brand accounts for GSuite Education domains. A brand account is essentially a shared account for teams. There's no single Google account associated and it can be used for branded content. We set up a branded page when our team first started so we could each upload to the channel without having a shared Google account.

Well, those days are gone. While I understand the reasoning (and I actually agree with the reasoning), Google really borked the process by not providing a migration strategy. There is no way to take videos associated with a brand channel and automatically associate them with another. We were able to get our channel activated, but we cannot easily move videos to a new, shared Google account for our team.

Download with youtube-dl

This is where youtube-dl comes into play. It's a command line utility that downloads YouTube videos based on specific video IDs, playlist IDs, or channel URLs. It's awesome.

I'm not the only one who has looked for easy ways to download entire channels. Ask Ubuntu has a great answer for how to download videos for an entire channel. It's a one-liner that just runs in the background, writing files to a folder. Adding the --write-description flag to the command also automatically creates a file for the video description to make the copy/paste easier later.

Reuploading - this is a nightmare

Downloading is easy, but with no thanks to Google on that solution. Uploading is even harder.

YouTube does have an API that would allow me to write a little loop to upload videos in the background. But, it is tied to a quota for the user. The standard is 10,000 units/day, which sounds like a lot, until you look at the cost for each operation.

According to the quota calculator provided, each upload costs ~1600 units. That's an upload and description written via the API, which is bare minimum. We have 102 videos, which means it would take me 17 days to automate the uploads.

17 days.

The alternative is to manually sit and upload each video to the new channel. It isn't 17 days, but it's a wasted day, for sure.

Here's where we gripe about Google killing things without providing viable alternatives for users.

But remember, we're not users to Google. We're products.

Products don't get a say in how we're used by the corporation.

See you in 17 days.

Comments are always open. You can get in touch by sending me an email at