It’s true that millions of people still go to YouTube primarily for the cute cat and baby videos, but music is still the platform’s #1 attraction and money maker, according to a new study by MIDiA. Music videos are the single most popular video category on YouTube, accounting for 32% of views and 21% of its revenue.
According to the study, “YouTube is the biggest winner among Gen Z and Millennials; penetration for YouTube music viewing peaks at 73% among 16–19 year olds in Brazil. But its reach is even wider: YouTube is the main way that all consumers aged 16 to 44 discover music.”
Make no mistake, the bit hits get a lot of views and are getting more all the time. It used to be something special when a video reached 1 billion views but no longer. There have been ten 1 billion view music videos already in 2018 alone and they account for more than 17 billion views between them! What’s more, reaching a billion happens faster than ever before. In 2010 it took an average of 1,841 days for a video to reach that milestone, and in 2015 it took 462 days. In 2017 that average was down to only 121 days. That said, over 10,000 videos in total (not just music) have generated over 1 billion views so far, so hitting that mark is far from special anymore.
Although parent company Alphabet doesn’t disclose how much YouTube actually brings in, the estimates are somewhere around $12 billion in 2017, of which music was said to be responsible for $3 billion. That’s a lot of money that music generates but far less than you might think considering the viewership. Part of that is due to the fact that 80% of the views are generated outside the United States, and advertisers don’t have to spend as much to reach them. Also, music video viewers don’t always get the highest priced advertisers in the first place.
YouTube is still a powerful force in music even though streaming music has come on strong recently. It’s also a platform where the 1% do a lot better than anyone else posting, but that now seems to be the new norm online.