YouTube Creator Awards: How to Get Your First Play Button

Are you ready to get your first (or next) YouTube play button? Here’s a quick guide for ordering your subscriber award.


In many creators’ videos, you’ll spot the coveted YouTube subscriber plaque. It typically hangs on a wall or sits on a bookcase somewhere in the background, twinkling under production lights. We notice them – creators and viewers alike – because of how sophisticated they look. Smooth. Minimalist. A shiny finish.

And if you’re a creator, only one thought enters your mind: What is that, and how can I get one?

These souvenirs are part of the YouTube Creator Awards and come in four colors: silver, gold, diamond, and red diamond.

Creators receive them by doing three things:

  1. Gaining a certain number of subscribers
  2. Requesting the award from YouTube
  3. Waiting patiently as YouTube reviews their channel

YouTube Play Button Levels

There are four YouTube play buttons, and each one signifies a different achievement for your channel:

  • YouTube silver play button (100,000 subscribers)
  • YouTube gold play button (1 million subscribers)
  • YouTube diamond play button (10 million subscribers)
  • YouTube red diamond play button (100 million subscribers)

Fun fact: The diamond play button isn’t actually made of diamonds. Two years ago, tech creator Marques Brownlee unboxed the award and explained its makeup.

“It’s a solid piece of machined aluminum – which is super heavy – and then polished on the outside with [a] crystal embedded in the middle of it,” Brownlee says.

How to Get a YouTube Play Button

You can order your first play button (silver) when you cross 100,000 YouTube subscribers. The award is free, but you’ll pay a duty or tax on the shipment if you live in one of these countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine, or Uzbekistan.

YouTube gives one award per subscriber milestone free of charge. You can order extra play buttons (pending channel review), but you'll have to pay for them.

On top of gaining 100,000 subscribers, you must meet other requirements to get your first play button:

  • An active YouTube channel with original content
  • Videos uploaded in the past six months
  • No recent Community Guidelines strikes
  • Good standing in the YouTube Partner Program
  • No scams or spammy content
  • Compliance with YouTube’s Terms of Service
  • Residency in an eligible country

If you’re unsure of anything at all, check your eligibility here.

Steps for Ordering a Play Button

  1. Check your email as soon as you pass a subscriber milestone.
  2. Find the email from YouTube saying you’re eligible to claim an award.
  3. Copy the redemption code in the email.
  4. Enter your redemption code on the Creator Awards website.
  5. Type in your channel's name.
  6. Add your shipping info.
  7. Click Order Now.

According to YouTube, play buttons arrive within a month of ordering them.

Are There Custom YouTube Play Buttons?

In the past, creators who got 50 million subscribers received a custom play button designed and made by YouTube. It typically matched the channel's theme and came in numerous shapes and sizes. Even better, creators had no idea what the award would look like.

Unfortunately, those days are gone. YouTube doesn’t make custom play buttons anymore, so if you have 10 million subscribers, you’ll need to reach 100 million to get another award – not 50.

Only three channels managed to get a custom play button (officially) before the option disappeared:

  • PewDiePie (ruby fist award)
  • T-Series (crystal glass award)
  • Canal KondZilla (multicolored award)

Of course, you must gain thousands of subscribers to get any kind of play button from YouTube.

Here’s how one channel used the art of suspense to reach 100,000 subscribers in three months.