With TikTok solidifying its ties with the music industry, and becoming an increasingly influential platform for music trends, YouTube has sought to re-assert its importance on the same, with a new set of insights on the role that it plays in boosting musicians and amplifying their content.
And that role is significant - according to YouTube, the platform paid over $4 billion to the music industry in the last 12 months alone, through its various elements that enable musicians to promote and directly monetize their content in-app.
As per YouTube:
"YouTube is the world’s largest stage, and advertisers are eager to tap into the deep music engagement that the platform enables. With over 2 billion users watching music videos monthly, YouTube allows advertisers to reach audiences they can’t find anywhere else. In addition, we added more paid members in Q1 ’21 than in any other quarter in our history."
Note: If you were hoping those constant reminders about signing up to YouTube Premium might go away sometime soon, these stats suggest that's not going to happen.
YouTube further notes that of the billions it's generated for artists, songwriters, and rights-holders over the last year, over 30% has come from UGC.
"Fan-powered videos have always flourished on YouTube, helping artists grow their audiences and break songs around the world. We’re thrilled it’s now also become a meaningful and incremental source of revenue alongside premium music content."
Which seems like a pointed reference to TikTok, where its hashtag trends and memes are now fueling huge engagement around the latest tracks.
YouTube's message, in this context, appears to be 'we generate actual dollars for artists'. While TikTok is the trending app of note in this context, YouTube is saying that it can help musicians build their business interests, rather than just fueling new dance clips.
Though, of course, the full revenue potential of such is difficult to quanfity - already, many songs that have gained traction on TikTok have gone on to become big sellers, generating significant revenue for their creators. Even older tracks have seen resurgences through TikTok trends - Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams', which was released in 1977, re-entered the Billboard Top 100 last year on the back of the viral clip of a skater cruising down the street.
Given this, it's hard to say which is a better platform, YouTube or TikTok, for music promotion, but YouTube is saying that its revenue potential is more direct, more quantifiable, something that it can directly link from its tools and processes.
In addition to this, YouTube also notes that it's working on new offerings for musicians, as it looks to build more revenue-generation options.
"We’re continuing to innovate with direct-to-fan products such as ticketing, merch, memberships, paid digital goods, and virtual ticketed events. BLACKPINK’s paid virtual concert – THE SHOW – sold nearly 280,000 channel memberships across 81 countries and helped the group earn 2.7 million new subscribers to their official artist channel."
On one hand, it's a general update on the progress of YouTube's music tools, but really, it's focused on TikTok, and highlighting the benefits of YouTube for musicians over the rising app.
Which is not surprising. YouTube, the clear leader in online video, is already trying to stunt TikTok's growth with its own replica short video feed, and as TikTok continues to gain traction, YouTube will remain focused on keeping it down, where possible, as it seeks to fend off potential competition.
Will highlighting its revenue potential work in this respect? It's certainly a powerful reminder for artists - and for marketers, it also underlines the significance of YouTube in this respect, for related campaigns and outreach.