A few years ago I wrote an answer to this question on Quora which says no. I wanted to revisit and reflect upon this topic and on YouTube as a whole. This post is my updated thoughts on the question.
YouTube is changing...
Since 2017 Google has continuously updated the platform to comply with the law and to keep their advertisers happy. Without advertiser money or charging for the service (they have a few paid consider products, YouTube Premium and YouTube Music), there is no YouTube. As the platform changes, so will their technical requirements, with access to the smartest software engineers on the planet I trust that YouTube will find a solution to the challenges they face.
The rise of NVMe Storage and UDH Video...
It's 2020 and NVMe storage is more accessible than ever, UHD Video (4K & 8K Standards) is becoming more popular than 1080p video. As storage needs skyrocket, YouTube will have to adapt to growing storage requirements. If ad revenue drops will they have to start charging creators a storage fee? It's unclear however considering the massive scale of YouTube and that they can display ads on any video I do not think they'll start charging creators fees.
New data compression algorithms...
As Cloudflare and many other content delivery network companies have shown there is no shortage of new data compression algorithms and techniques. I'm sure somewhere behind the scenes at Google, magic is being put together to make 4K and 8K video files smaller than ever.
My answer on Quora in 2017
I've quoted my answer below for reference. I've pulled my answers from the Quora platform recently as I want to focus on blogging so you'll have to read them here instead.
“Can't just keep adding more storage.” That's exactly what they'll do. Consider the following:
1. Google has a lot of money. They can spend as much as they need to add more storage. If needed they'll build more data centers. Whatever it takes to keep running YouTube.
2. Hard drives are being able to store more and more data. They'll upgrade as needed.
3. Google has some of the smartest engineers on the planet. I wouldn't be surprised if they had proprietary compression technologies to make the most of their hard drives.
Hope this helps :)
Nathaniel Suchy on Quora - June 6th, 2017