YouTube paid out $4bn to music industry in last 12 months

YouTube paid out more than $4 billion (£2.8bn) to the music industry over the last 12 months, according to new figures from the Google-owned video streaming platform.

Of the $4bn in revenue that was paid out to artists, songwriters, and rights-holders, 30% came from user-generated content (UGC).

“As a visual-audio platform, our goal is to become the leading revenue generator for the music industry and to help artists around the world build a career making music,” said Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head of Music in a blog post. “We are uniquely positioned to achieve this goal because YouTube monetizes the end-to-end music experience globally”.

Revenue is generated for artists, songwriters, and rights-holders through the company’s ad-supported free tier and subscription tiers, with both premium music content and UGC growing and driving value back to the industry, said Cohen. 

He also revealed that YouTube added more paid members in the first quarter of 2021 than any other quarter since launch.

YouTube is also continuing to explore new revenue sources with direct-to-fan products such as ticketing, merch, memberships, paid digital goods, and virtual ticketed events.

Showcasing the success of these online events so far, South Korean girl group Blackpink’s paid virtual concert in January 2021 sold nearly 280,000 channel membership across 81 countries, said Cohen. 

The virtual gig also helped the group to get 2.7 million new subscribers on their YouTube channel.