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YouTube Paid $4 Billion to the Music Industry Last Year, Up 33% From 2019

The Google-owned video giant is aiming to “become the leading revenue generator for the music industry”

YouTube on Wednesday said it paid more than $4 billion to the music industry last year, including artists, songwriters and rights holders.

That $4 billion payout amounts to about 20% of the Google-owned video giant’s ad revenue from last year. It also represents a 33% increase from the amount YouTube paid out the year prior, when YouTube forked over $3 billion to the music industry.

Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music, said in a blog post that 30% of its $4 billion went toward user-generated content.

“YouTube is the world’s largest stage, and advertisers are eager to tap into the deep music engagement that the platform enables,” Cohen said. “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.”

While the post was light on details, it did offer some clarity on how YouTube stacks up against other major players in the music business. Spotify, for example, recently shared it paid $5 billion to the music industry in 2020 – and more than $23 billion overall since the streaming service launched in 2006. On Wednesday, Cohen said Youtube’s goal is to “become the leading revenue generator for the music industry” – and it’ll need to leapfrog Spotify to make it happen.