YouTube now has more than 2bn monthly music users

In mid-2018, YouTube said that more than one billion people visited it every month to consume music. Two and a half years later, that total has doubled to more than two billion. The new milestone has been announced this afternoon in a blog post by YouTube’s global head of music Lyor Cohen, as YouTube launched […]

GitHub reinstates YouTube-DL project after RIAA takedown

GitHub is one of the most popular sites for developers in the world, hosting open source code and helping people manage their projects. It’s also on a collision course with music rightsholders in the US, over a takedown notice sent to GitHub in October by industry body the RIAA focusing on a project called YouTube-DL […]

Linkfire’s latest attribution data deal is with YouTube Music

Music marketing platform Linkfire has announced its latest data deal, with YouTube Music. “In addition to seeing how many of your link visitors click through to YouTube and YouTube Music, you’ll be able to see how those clicks translate into streams on the platforms,” promised the company. It makes YouTube the latest service to sign on […]

Industry equality: rethinking funnels and creating opportunities

YouTube’s music chief Lyor Cohen convened a panel to discuss racial justice and the ‘race to equality’ in the music industry. Published on Friday, it included contributions from Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas (who founded #TheShowMustBePaused); Binta Brown (co-founder of the Black Music Action Coalition); Public Enemy’s Chuck D; UMG’s EVP of business and legal affairs […]

YouTube now has 30m music and premium subscribers globally

YouTube’s parent company Alphabet reported another big quarter yesterday. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the advertising market, Alphabet’s Q3 revenues were up by 14% year-on-year to $46.17bn, helping the company to an $11.25bn net profit in the third quarter. Within that, there were figures for YouTube advertising revenues, which grew by 32.4% year-on-year to $5.04bn […]

Justin Bieber’s ‘Next Chapter’ is another YouTube documentary

If 10 episodes of YouTube documentary about Justin Bieber weren’t enough for you earlier this year, we have some good news. The video service is following up its ‘Justin Bieber: Seasons’ series with a one-off 30-minute doc called ‘Justin Bieber: Next Chapter’. Fans can expect “an exclusive look at his life today – everything from […]

Spotify, Apple, YouTube and Netflix among PS5 media partners

November this year is New Consoles Month, with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Series S plus Sony’s PlayStation 5 making their debuts. While games are the focus, music and video streaming will also be part of the packages. Sony revealed some of its plans yesterday: at launch the PS5 will have apps for Apple TV, Disney+, […]

The Kid Laroi and Mulatto get Spotify and YouTube approval

Pretty much every major streaming service now has some kind of program to identify and promote emerging artists: Spotify’s Radar, Apple Music’s Up Next, Amazon Music’s Breakthrough, Deezer’s Next, YouTube Music’s Artist on the Rise… Two of them have announced their latest picks this week. Spotify has made teenage rapper The Kid Laroi its third Radar […]

Spotify and YouTube double down on their music charts

The charts of digital music services having clout with consumers and the industry alike isn’t a new trend for anyone who remembers the heyday of Apple’s iTunes rankings around the world. We’re interested in the current burst of activity around streaming services’ charts though. Both Spotify and YouTube Music had announcements this week shedding more […]

Four Tet gets his own looping chillout stream on YouTube

Channels like ChilledCow and Chillhop Music can do it. Hollywood star Will Smith can do it. Even Pepsi can do it. So why can’t Four Tet? He can! The ‘it’ in question being ‘looping lo-fi chillout music streams on YouTube’ of course. Electronic artist Four Tet has what appears to be a 12-hour loop that began streaming on his YouTube channel […]

YouTube Music tests Spotify Daily Mix-style ‘My Mix’ playlists

Spotify launched its Daily Mix playlists in 2016 as a collection of personalised playlists based on different ‘clusters’ of a listener’s musical tastes. Now it looks like YouTube Music is launching a similar feature. Tech blog Android Police reported on some users seeing up to seven new ‘My Mix’ playlists, each seemingly based on a different genre or […]

YouTube singalong to celebrate Oasis album’s 25th anniversary

It’s about to turn 25 years since the release of Oasis’s second album ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’, which several members of our editorial team are in firm age-related denial about. The band remains on hiatus thanks to ongoing tensions between its founding brothers, but celebrations are afoot on YouTube. This Friday (2 October) there’s […]

Japanese artist Reol made $130k from a YouTube livestream

Can you make money from livestreamed music performances on YouTube? Japanese artist Reol certainly did: to the tune of $130k. YouTube’s director of Black music and culture Tuma Basa revealed the figure in his appearance at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference yesterday alongside colleague T. Jay Fowler, director of product management. Reol’s livestream […]

Jennifer Lopez and Maluma held a YouTube premiere ‘afterparty’

Jennifer Lopez and Maluma have just released a pair of singles together: ‘Pa Ti’ and ‘Lonely’, and like a growing number of artists, they unveiled the music videos in a YouTube premiere, yesterday. However, they also held an afterparty (a #PaTiAfterParty in hashtag form) which saw J-Lo and Maluma chatting about the collaborations, promoting their upcoming movie […]

YouTube deploys AI to tighten up age restrictions on videos

YouTube is keen to ensure that underage viewers aren’t watching videos that are inappropriate. It’s announced plans to “build on our approach of using machine learning to detect content for review, by developing and adapting our technology to help us automatically apply age-restrictions”. In other words, YouTube’s AI will be rating videos, although uploaders will be able […]

WMG’s Arts Music signs YouTube kids brand Super Simple Songs

Warner Music Group’s Arts Music division has been steadily growing its catalogue of kids and family music, with partners including Sesame Workshop, Mattel and Build-a-Bear Workshop. Its latest deal is with a popular YouTube children’s music brand, Super Simple Songs. Well, with its parent company Skyship Entertainment anyway, which will be making the Super Simple Songs […]

U2’s YouTube channel relaunches with remastered music videos

U2 are the latest heritage artist to be getting their archive of music videos spiffed up for modern-day viewers online. The band’s YouTube channel is relaunching as part of a collaboration between UMG’s Island Records, Interscope, UMe and UMC divisions and YouTube, with plans to spend the next year releasing remastered HD versions of U2’s music […]

The latest player in the lo-fi hip-hop YouTube game is… Pepsi

Sure, you may like round-the-clock streams of lo-fi hip-hop on YouTube from channels like ChilledCow and Chillhop Music, but wouldn’t it be nice if their animated backgrounds were more branded? And in fact, wouldn’t the music be nicer if it had a few more lyrics about fizzy drinks? Fear not: Pepsi has you covered. It […]

YouTube Music rolls out more features for its playlists

As it prepares for a migration of users from Google Play Music, YouTube Music’s team have been talking about some of their recent improvements to playlists on the service. That includes assistive playlists, with YouTube suggesting songs to add to a playlist based on its title, the songs already in the playlist, and the user’s listening history. […]

YouTube contest involves making a music video for Hans Zimmer

For any aspiring filmmaker, the chance to have their work soundtracked by composer Hans Zimmer would be a dream come true. Now it will come true for five people. Zimmer has teamed up with Sony Music and YouTube for a contest challenging people to create original music videos for five of his compositions. A winner will be […]

YouTube’s latest originals include a GRM Daily documentary

YouTube has revealed its latest slate of ‘originals’ – documentaries commissioned by the video service – for the UK this autumn. They include a four-part series about GRM Daily, the Black British music channel. ‘Together We Rise: The Uncompromised Story of GRM Daily’ will debut on 28 September, with interviewees including Skepta, Giggs, Stormzy, Julie […]

Covid-19 sparked ‘boom’ in paid subscriptions in UK says ERA

‘How Britain entertained itself during lockdown’ is the title of the latest press release from UK body the Entertainment Retailers Association (Era). Surprisingly, the answer isn’t ‘doomscrolling Twitter in tears and making forts from panic-bought toilet rolls and flour’. Era is understandably more focused on music, TV and gaming habits, and a “boom in sales […]

10 talking points around kids, music and technology in 2020

Last month, Music Ally took part in the BPI and ERA’s New Kids on the Block online event, looking at children’s digital habits and what they mean for music. Research company Kids Insights produced a report for the event too, which has been published today. We contributed a section on some of the interesting stories […]

Tools: Youtube Analytics for Artists

While each of the major DSPs has launched their own suite of analytics and data dashboards, the competition around who is providing the most actionable and unique set of insights is getting fiercer and fiercer, with each platform leveraging their own strengths and building on what they already offer. Hoping to raise the bar further […]

Indian artist Badshah questioned by police over ‘fake views’

Remember the controversy last year when Sony Music India claimed that its artist Badshah had broken YouTube’s 24-hour viewing record with his new video ‘Paagal’? After it emerged that views from Google ads were included in the total, YouTube did not accept the claimed record – and later changed its charts and 24-hour-record calculations specifically to exclude paid advertising views. […]

Sandbox Issue 258: KIDS’ STUFF. Music’s youngest and most powerful consumers

Lead: we report back on our recent New Kids On The Block: Insight Into A New Generation online conference that we ran in conjunction with UK trade bodies the BPI and ERA, drawing out the 10 key lessons from the different panels and presentations. These include: children are much more active (and increasingly so) than previously presumed; […]

YouTube responds to Koda over Danish music takedowns

Earlier this week, we wrote about a controversy brewing Denmark with a dispute between collecting society Koda and YouTube. Koda announced that YouTube would be removing its members music from its platform, after the society declined a temporary extension to its licensing deal (while a new one is being negotiated by pan-Nordic hub Polaris) that […]

YouTube reveals Google Play Music will shut down in October

As long goodbyes go, Google Play Music’s has been LONG. It was July 2017 when YouTube’s global head of music Lyor Cohen first revealed plans to merge Google’s music streaming (and cloud locker) service with YouTube’s equivalent – then called YouTube Red, but since rebranded as YouTube Music. Nearly three years later, in May 2020, YouTube […]

YouTube under fire over music licensing impasse in Denmark

Something is kicking off in the state of Denmark, and it’s the latest music licensing controversy around YouTube. Danish collecting society Koda issued a press release last week titled ‘Google removes all Danish music from YouTube’, although the first paragraph makes it clear that this removal hasn’t happened yet. The background is negotiations for a […]

Sandbox Issue 257: Filter Tips. Making camera effects connect

Lead: Music-centric filters on social apps are designed to appeal not just to hardcore fans but also to get enough “shareability” to pull in potential new fans. They are also being used by labels themselves to create a form of augmented branding. We look at who is doing them well, if they are worth the investment and […]

Amplify London pilot to fund five grassroots music projects

In February this year we wrote about Amplify London, a new partnership between YouTube Music and UK charity London Music Fund to support grassroots projects for young musicians. Now the first five projects to benefit have been announced, which will reach up to 200 11-21 year-olds across London in the UK. The projects include: a […]

Music Ally Report :: Q2 2020 Edition

Our main feature explores the evolution of live music, as we look towards a time when concerts are able to resume safely. What have we learned from the livestreaming boom during the Covid-19 lockdown, and what are the prospects for ‘hybrid’ online/offline concerts in the coming months? We’ve also got a feature recapping two thought-provoking […]

Watch for YouTube impact of Facebook’s music videos move

Let us take you back on a short tour of Facebook music-video speculation. Start in 2012 when reports claimed Vevo – then the key aggregator of music videos – was in talks to ditch YouTube in favour of a partnership with Facebook. Then move to 2015, when video was one of the topics in the social network’s tentative talks […]

Report analyses every single YouTube ‘trending’ video of 2019

More than 70k videos appeared in YouTube’s ‘trending’ section last year. That’s the tab that spotlights videos that YouTube’s algorithm thinks are currently taking off, and it can drive significant traffic to them. So how does it work? Data scientist Ammar Alyousfi has been doing the hard work, analysing the data from those 70k videos […]

Wiz Khalifa to play Genius Live interactive livestream

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about livestreamed concerts during the Covid-19 lockdown, it’s that fans relish interactivity: at its simplest level seeing an artist read and respond to comments in between songs. Genius is going further though: it’s launching a new “performance-oriented livestreaming and experiential platform” called Genius Live, with lots of interactivity. Wiz […]

YouTube launches new analytics features for music artists

YouTube had analytics that musicians were using long before Spotify for Artists, Apple Music for Artists, Amazon Music for Artists and the rest. Along with SoundCloud, it was an early tool for artists to see (for example) where their fan hotspots were around the world, and plan tours accordingly. YouTube’s analytics weren’t specifically for musicians though: […]

Musician Maria Schneider files class action YouTube lawsuit

Artist and composer Maria Schneider has criticised YouTube publicly several times in the past. For example this open letter in 2016 calling the service “a resounding disaster” for musicians; and this piece in 2017 about the net neutrality issue which included the claim that “they deny musicians like me access to their Content ID blocking program”. Three years on, […]

YouTube lands exclusive on archive Elton John concerts

His mammoth Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour might be on hold for now, but Elton John is making a series of archive shows available exclusively on his official YouTube channel. The series premieres on Friday (3 July) with the stated aim of raising $500k in donations for the Elton John AIDS Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund. Each […]

Report: global app spending was $50bn in first half of 2020

Could a global pandemic take the shine off the growth in the amount of money people spend on and within mobile apps? It could not. “Consumers spent a combined total of $50.1 billion worldwide on the App Store and Google Play in the first half of 2020,” claimed app analytics firm Sensor Tower. “This was 23.4 […]

K-Pop stars Blackpink break YouTube 24-hour views record

This one is going to get the K-Pop stans roused up. In April 2019, BTS broke the record for one-day video views on YouTube, with the 78m views of their ‘Boy With Luv’ video trumping the previous record-holder, ‘Kill This Love’ by fellow K-Pop group Blackpink. Now the record has been broken again… by Blackpink! […]

YouTube tests TikTok-style segmented 15-second videos feature

YouTube is testing a new feature for people to upload videos that are 15 seconds in length. We can’t think where it got that idea from… Okay, this isn’t a pure TikTok clone: there are some interesting aspects to it. “We’re testing out a new way for creators to easily record multiple clips directly in […]

#TheShowMustBePaused: next steps, Stormzy, YouTube and more

One of the key points about the #TheShowMustBePaused campaign last week was that it was not a single day of action, but rather the springboard for much, much more. Today, there’s a lot to report on in that regard, within both the music and tech worlds. Start by reading Billboard’s interview with Brianna Agyemang and Jamila […]

Digital Rights Manager – Domino Records – London

Job opportunity: Digital Rights Manager Based in our London office, Domino Recording Company seeks a full-time Digital Rights Manager, to be employed on a 1 Year Fixed Term basis.  In this role you will be working with YouTube and Facebook’s content management systems on a daily basis, with responsibility for channel and rights management on […]

YouTube reveals stats for its creator tipping economy

It hasn’t been available to musicians in the past, but YouTube’s tips economy – where viewers can buy ‘Super Chats’, ‘Super Stickers’ and channel memberships for the creators they love – has been something Music Ally has been keeping an eye on as it has grown. Now YouTube has revealed a new figure for the growth in the number […]

New study breaks down kids’ YouTube and TikTok habits

Sit down for this shocker: children spend quite a lot of time on YouTube and TikTok! Who knew? Next thing, someone will be telling us that they quite like Fortnite too. But no snark: a company called Qustodio, whose product is a parental control app, has been digging into its data to quantify exactly how […]

Chartmetric says livestreams boosted artists’ social followings

Music analytics firm Chartmetric has published the third and final part of its analysis on Covid-19’s impact on music consumption. The study focuses on livestreams, and the extent to which they boosted artists’ social media followings. The conclusion: yes they did. Chartmetric says that “live streams scheduled by artists from their own channels generated significant […]

YouTube Select aims to boost YouTube’s advertising revenue

A blunt truth underpinning the ‘value gap’ debate: if YouTube is going to pay music rightsholders more royalties, one of the best ways will be by increasing its advertising revenues. Which, as we reported earlier this year when parent company Alphabet started disclosing them, have grown from $8.15bn in 2017 to $11.16bn in 2018, then $15.15bn […]

YouTube reveals the latest artists for its Foundry program

YouTube set up its Foundry initiative back in 2016 as a way to offer emerging artists marketing, promotional and technology support. The 12 acts shortlisted for the class of 2020 have just been announced and include: Jaykae (from the UK); Joesef (UK); TESSÆ (France); Tems (Nigeria); Adam Melchor (US); Eladio Carrion (Puerto Rico); Gabriel Garzon-Montano (US); Natanael […]

Rolling Stones and Foals launch weekly YouTube shows

Two more artists have revealed plans for weekly YouTube formats during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Rolling Stones have launched something called ‘Extra Licks’, which will stream past live performances on their YouTube channel every Sunday, using YouTube’s ‘premieres’ feature. The first, focusing on the band’s 2016 ‘Ole!’ tour of Latin America, can be watched here and has […]

Children’s music booms on platforms from YouTube to JioSaavn

One of the factors in YouTube’s viewing increase (see story higher up this bulletin) is the fact that schools are closed in many countries, and children are getting (even) more time on screens. At the younger end of the age range, that’s having a notable impact on the figures for children’s music channels. Witness the latest […]

YouTube set for sing-along version of Beatles’ Yellow Submarine

This Saturday (25 April) a sing-along edition of The Beatles’ 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine will be screened on the band’s official YouTube channel. The film – which was remastered and restored for theatrical and DVD release in 2018 – has never been available on YouTube before. Well, not in an official capacity. This screening is […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (23 April)

Start today with YouTube’s announcement of a slate of Covid-19 related original shows, with several involving music. Stay Home With: Yungblud will explore the UK artist’s quarantine life, with viewers encouraged to donate to the No Kid Hungry charity, for example. Also positive is Abbey Road Studios’ new Topline Songwriting Competition, with songwriters, artists and producers invited to […]

Tommy Boy president: ‘YouTube could become our number one DSP’

Friday saw the first ever Music Ally TV weekly show, broadcast using video-conferencing platform Zoom. Our guests included Rosie Lopez, president of Tommy Boy, and the topic at hand was YouTube. “We’re feeling very optimistic about YouTube. We’re projecting that YouTube could potentially become our number one DSP in the future,” said Lopez. “It’s a […]

More data emerges on Covid-19 impact on YouTube ad rates

In terms of traffic, YouTube is getting an almighty battering at the moment, with people working from home (and just as importantly, children’s schools closed). But we’ve reported already on talk of the advertising rates on YouTube falling, as brands pause or pull their advertising budgets as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now there’s some more […]

What can the music industry learn from the biggest YouTube channels?

For all that the music industry likes to complain about YouTube, the two are irreversibly entwined. Indian music company T-Series has had the most popular YouTube channel for years now, recently crossing 100bn lifetime views on the platform, while music videos make up the lion’s share of YouTube’s top 10 clips. But that certainly doesn’t […]

Music Ally Report :: Q1 2020 Edition

Our main Music Ally report is getting bigger and going quarterly! This is the first edition of the new report including some of the new elements we’ve been planning, with more to be added in the Q2 report in early July. We couldn’t ignore the coronavirus pandemic, of course, so there’s a feature exploring some […]

Covid-19 advertising slump is hitting YouTube channels

In terms of viewing, YouTube is thought to be having a big moment amid the Covid-19 pandemic. But are its advertising revenues also climbing? A story on Medium’s OneZero suggests that there may be something to worry about on that front. “YouTubers say that the rates companies pay to advertise on their videos are dropping significantly. That […]

The Roots ramp up original content for their YouTube channel

Usually the house band on The Tonight Show, excellent hip-hop collective The Roots are using this period of social distancing to work on their YouTube channel. They already have 267,000 subscribers to the channel and 165.3m lifetime views, but the coming weeks will see the group ramp up their original content. There’ll be DJ sets from Questlove, […]

YouTube Kids may be the top video streaming app of 2020 so far

Apptopia is one of a cluster of app analytics firms (see also: App Annie, Sensor Tower) mining the app stores for data on the size and growth of the apps market. Its latest report is co-published with a customer engagement firm called Braze, and focuses on the video streaming world. The part that caught our […]

L Devine’s digital ‘URL Tour’ helped her sell out of merch

One of the most inventive approaches to livestreaming so far this year came from British artist L Devine, who went on an online-only ‘URL Tour’ when a planned physical tour was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of towns or cities, the URL Tour was structured around platforms: Instagram Live on 16 March; Twitter on 20 […]

Sandbox Issue 249: What music can learn from YouTube’s biggest channels

Lead: Music is critical to YouTube while the music industry (beyond the politics of the value gap debate) is hugely reliant on the platform. But so too are other content types. We look at the biggest channels on YouTube generally – including categories such as comedy, education, film, sports and gaming (as well as music […]

What music can learn from YouTube’s biggest channels

The latest edition of Sandbox went out to subscribers last night and the cover feature runs through the biggest YouTube channels outside of music (although we do add in T-Series for good measure) to look at what they do, how they do it and what music can learn from them all. There is comedy (in […]

YouTube’s Stay Home #WithMe hub gathers music livestreams

YouTube’s latest initiative to encourage people to self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic’s current phase is a hub called StayHome #WithMe that gathers videos that it thinks will keep people entertained, active and informed while staying home. The top shelf on the page is called ‘Jam With Me’ and spotlights the latest livestreams from artists – at the time […]

Music Ally Startup Files: Pex sees big music potential in UGC

For the last few years, LA-based startup Pex has been quietly scanning, fingerprinting and indexing every single piece of audio and video uploaded to open, public-facing platforms. It has accrued a whopping database of 20 billion data points, and – perhaps – know what’s happening on certain platforms better than the platform itself. Music Ally […]

Sandbox Issue 248: PERSONALISATION. Music marketing makes it all about YOU

Lead: Personalisation is a powerful way to stand out in a noisy marketplace and to make fans feel involved with things. It all, however, has to be handled with care as one person’s “tailored messaging” is another person’s spam. We look at how the personal – from recommendations and mixtapes to merchandise and location – […]

Melanie Martinez got 100m+ YouTube views for her K-12 project

Melanie Martinez is the latest musician to get the YouTube Artist Spotlight Story treatment: a 13-minute mini-documentary about her “artistic journey and the many hats she wears as a creative”. We were tickled by the phrase ‘With exclusive BTS from her feature film K-12’ in the video’s YouTube description too: that’s exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ footage, obviously, […]

YouTube app switches Trending tab to Explore – music included

YouTube is officially changing the name of the ‘Trending’ tab in its mobile app to ‘Explore’, with changes to the videos that people will find under that tab too. “With Explore, you not only have access to Trending videos, but also to destination pages for some popular content categories like Gaming, Music, Fashion & Beauty, […]

The Trichordist publishes per-stream royalties data for 2019

Every year, artist-rights blog The Trichordist publishes an updated ‘streaming price bible’ comparing the per-stream payouts of the major music streaming services. The latest version, for 2019, was published overnight, and as ever is based on “a mid-sized indie label with an approximately 350+ album catalog now generating over 1.5b streams annually”. Among its findings: Spotify’s […]

Youngboy Never Broke Again continues his YouTube success

The most popular artist on YouTube in the US last week was YoungBoy Never Broke Again (aka Kentrell DeSean Gaulden), with 78.6m views of videos including his music. That was more than double the second-ranked artist Roddy Ricch (who had 37.5m views), reflecting Gaulden’s popularity on YouTube. His total was driven by 14 of his songs […]

Zoë Keating explains why she doesn’t sell merch or use YouTube

Zoë Keating is an artist who’s taken a leading role in talking about new technologies (blockchain, for example) as well as streaming royalties transparency. Her latest interview is with Emily White, author of the new book ‘How To Build A Sustainable Music Career & Collect All Revenue Streams’, with a foreword in the form of a […]

BTS YouTube premiere broke records with 1.54m concurrent viewers

Earlier this week, we reported on a strong start for K-Pop stars BTS’ latest music video, ‘Kinetic Manifesto Film: Come Prima’, on YouTube. The video was the fifth biggest 24-hour debut in YouTube history, but it turns out it also set a new record in another way. BTS used YouTube’s ‘premiere’ feature to time-release the […]

T-Series’ main YouTube channel reaches 100bn views milestone

Indian music company T-Series’ flagship YouTube channel has been the most popular channel on the video service for some time now. After a lengthy (and sometimes controversial) battle with gamer PewDiePie for top spot, T-Series has accelerated away: it now has more than 130 million subscribers compared with PewDiePie’s 103 million – a gap that opened up even […]

MooTube: ChilledCow lo-fi hip-hop channel returns to YouTube

Earlier this year, we pointed you in the direction of an article exploring how 24-7 lo-fi hip-hop YouTube livestreams make their money. It’s still well worth a read, if you missed it at the time. Now one of those channels, ChilledCow, has been making headlines after it was temporarily suspended by YouTube – a suspension that turned out […]

Fortnite rickroll emote caused some YouTube Content ID problems

Last week, we reported that Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ had been turned into a Fortnite emote – one of the dances that players can perform in-game to celebrate or goad opponents. This emote included a clip of the actual track. We (and more importantly, the game’s publisher Epic Games) should have spotted the obvious problem […]

YouTube preps drill-music documentary ‘Terms and Conditions’

In May 2018, YouTube deleted dozens of music videos made by artists in the ‘drill’ genre, at the request of London’s Metropolitan police, on the grounds that they were inciting gang violence. Spotify and Apple Music have since faced criticism for drill music being available on their services too, yet it’s also been argued that censoring drill music is […]

How many users do Spotify, Apple Music and other big music streaming services have?

Sometimes the statistics around how many people are streaming music – and how many are paying for it – can lead to confusion and misinterpretation. Recently, for example, we’ve seen one story suggesting that Amazon was “on course to overtake Apple Music” based on comparing an Amazon figure from January 2020 with one from Apple […]

YouTube’s latest plans to focus on Official Artist Channels

YouTube has emailed its music users with an update on how it’s managing artists’ channels. Many now have an ‘Official Artist Channel’ on YouTube, but also their own channels, Vevo-branded channels, and ‘topic’ channels focused on their music. That’s all being rationalised. “If you previously subscribed to an artist’s topic or partner-provided channel, you’ll automatically […]

YouTube dominates mobile video-streaming time says App Annie

YouTube remains the Billy Big Boots of the online video world, according to the latest report from mobile analytics firm App Annie. It claims that of the time spent in the world’s five most popular video streaming apps (on Android) YouTube accounts for 70%, well ahead of second-placed Tencent News’ 10% share. “Time spent in YouTube […]

Google’s Chrome browser to block ‘intrusive’ ads around videos

Google’s Chrome browser will soon stop showing videos that include certain kinds of ads, and the policy will affect YouTube as well as other websites. The changes are outlined in a blog post from Google describing “three ad experiences that people find to be particularly disruptive on video content that is less than 8 minutes long”. They […]

Justin Bieber YouTube doc’s first episode races to 42m views

Justin Bieber’s new YouTube documentary series, Seasons, is already a record breaker. The show’s first episode was watched 32.7m times in its first week, setting a new bar for the ‘most-viewed premiere in its first week’ for a YouTube Original show. Not that viewing tailed off there: the first episode has since grown to 42m views on YouTube. Subsequent […]

Study points to heavy (Android) use of YouTube in South Korea

Analytics firm Wiseapp has published some new estimates for YouTube’s popularity in South Korea. Well, its popularity on Android smartphones anyway. The company reckons that YouTube had nearly 34 million Android users in South Korea at the end of 2019, up 6% year-on-year. This, in a country with a population of 51.5 million, as TechCrunch points […]

MMF and YouTube reveal managers for their 2020 accelerator

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) and YouTube have announced the list of 20 managers who’ll be taking part in their UK-focused accelerator programme this year. The chosen 20 represent 66 artists, songwriters and producers between them, with the MMF stressing their diversity on several grounds: “Over half the group are based outside London. 40% are female, and […]

How do 24-7 YouTube lo-fi hip-hop channels make their money?

As podcasts have become more strategically important both to music streaming services and to the music industry, so Hot Pod News has become one of our trusted sources for information on the podcasting world. Its latest piece, written by music-industry journalist Cherie Hu, explores something less podcast-y: the economics of ’24-7 Lo-Fi Hip-Hop YouTube Livestreams’, […]

YouTube launches first episodes of Justin Bieber: Seasons doc

Earlier this year, Music Ally reported on YouTube’s plans to launch a Justin Bieber docu-series as part of its ‘originals’ slate. The series will include 10 episodes, with the first four released yesterday. As a gauge of demand for the series, the first episode was released 15 hours ago at the time of writing, and has already been […]

Prajakta Kohli launches YouTube series with Neha Kakkar episode

Prajakta Kohli is one of the emerging wave of young Indian YouTubers growing their audiences on the video service. Her channel MostlySane has nearly 4.5 million subscribers, and she’s just launched an original series called ‘Pretty Fit’, which is about getting fit by doing some unusual non-gym activities – tilling land, harvesting sugarcane etc. Anyway, her guest […]

Billie Eilish now has more than 25m subscribers on YouTube

We suspect Billie Eilish will be picking up a Grammy or two (or more) this weekend. Ahead of that event, she’s reached a new milestone on YouTube: 25 million subscribers to her official channel. Eilish is one of fewer than 20 artists to reach that total, according to YouTube. This growth in her following is paying […]

T-Series is the most-watched YouTube channel by weekly views

Indian firm T-Series’ flagship channel has the most subscribers on YouTube: 124 million at the time of writing. It will come as no surprise to learn that it’s also the most popular in terms of weekly views, then. That’s according to a chart published by online-video industry site Tubefilter, using data from analytics firm GospelStats. It claims […]

WWE averaged 510 YouTube video uploads a month during 2019

One of the challenges that YouTube presents for the music industry is the way music videos compete against other kinds of content and creators on the service. Many of whom are churning out videos much more regularly than artists are able to, with a firm sense of what will grab the attention of YouTube’s recommendation […]

YouTube to release a documentary about Coachella festival

YouTube already goes back a long way with the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival: it has been streaming sets live from the annual event for a decade. Now it’s going back even further. YouTube is launching a documentary about Coachella, which will explore the festival’s 20-year history. The feature-length original will go live on 31 March […]

Music Ally Report 426: Trends of 2019

This year we’ve picked 42 (also the answer to life, the universe and everything as fans of Douglas Adams will know) of the trends and moments we found most significant in 2019. What are they? *takes deep breath* industry growth; the European Copyright Directive and Music Modernization Act; Spotify’s two-sided marketplace; Apple Music’s bundled future; […]

Billboard will soon count YouTube data towards US albums chart

YouTube has contributed to the US ‘Hot 100’ singles chart since early 2013, but now Billboard has announced that the video service’s data will also count towards its ‘Billboard 200’ albums chart. Importantly, this data will only come from “official licensed video content uploaded by or on behalf of a rights holder” – no user-generated […]

Report claims YouTube has 800k paying subscribers in India

It’s not there yet, but YouTube could soon be the biggest paid music-subscription service in India. That’s the hook for a report by Bloomberg claiming that YouTube has more than 800,000 paying subscribers in India across its YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium tiers – the latter of which includes the former. The report claims that YouTube’s subscriptions […]

What do YouTube’s new harassment policies mean for music?

Spend any amount of time digging in to the comments on any public figure’s social-media accounts, and you’ll quickly realise it’s not all wonderful #engagement with fans. In fact, it can often be a cesspit. This is a challenge all the social networks (and streaming services with comments enabled) are trying to tackle. Yesterday, YouTube announced […]

1,200+ Indian YouTube channels have more than 1m subscribers

Amid all the interest in the audio music-streaming market in India, where Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn and others are all scrapping it out, the biggest hitter is undeniably a video-streaming service: YouTube. We already knew that it has 265 million monthly users in India; that it may account for as much as 40% of Indian labels’ digital revenue; […]

Jamie Cullum teams with Clos19 for personal song tributes

Anyone who has been to an improv comedy show will know that making up songs on the spot based on audience suggestions is often more admirable than enjoyable. But that’s, in a way, what Jamie Cullum is doing with the release of 19 songs, as part of a partnership with lifestyle retail brand Clos19. Each of […]

YouTube Music extends free trial and expands ticketing to UK

Christmas is coming, and Music Ally’s list of cheap music-streaming subscription promotions is getting fat. YouTube is the latest in to the festive fray, with a ‘Cyber Week’ offer in the US of an extended three-month free trial of its YouTube Premium tier, rather than the usual one month of free access. That includes YouTube […]

Vevo on how to get more YouTube views (and avoid an ‘algorithmic death-spiral’)

Ed Walker, VP of original content & production at Vevo, used his presentation at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit to explain how to ensure videos on YouTube benefit from – rather than rub against – the platform’s recommendation algorithms. Walker used Vevo’s catalogue of music videos and original content – more than 400k videos in total […]

Marshmello now has 40m subscribers to his YouTube channel

Dance star Marshmello has hit a new milestone on YouTube: his channel now has more than 40 million subscribers. YouTube says that makes him the third most-subscribed-to musician on YouTube, behind Justin Bieber (47 million) and Ed Sheeran (42.5 million). At the time of writing, Marshmello is also 34th in YouTube’s global artists chart, with 73.2m weekly views […]

Lyor Cohen keen to avoid algorithmic echo chambers on YouTube

The headline for newspaper The Times’ interview with YouTube Music boss Lyor Cohen may be over-egging the pudding a bit. ‘Whip Spotify’s ass? The answer is emphatically yes’, it turns out, refers to a section of the interview where the startling wording appears to come from the journalist in a question: Cohen agrees (“The answer is emphatically […]

Introducing The Music Ally Learning Hub

We’re delighted to announce the launch of our brand new Learning Hub for the global music industry! What is this special place? The Music Ally Learning Hub is a new dedicated e-learning platform for the modern music business. Our team has been hard at work behind the scenes to build a resource that will become the new […]

YouTube launches Merchbar partnership for artist merchandise

YouTube is rolling out another feature for musicians with ‘Official Artist Channels’ on its platform. The company has signed a deal with Merchbar which will see artists able to “surface their official merchandise and vinyl alongside their videos… Fans watching videos from their favorite artists on their YouTube Official Artist Channels can now see a shelf with […]

Mark Ronson gets a feature-length documentary from YouTube

Hands up if you predicted that one of 2019’s more intriguing areas of competition in the music industry would be Netflix versus YouTube – in the field of original music documentaries. YouTube’s latest salvo in this battle is ‘How to Be: Mark Ronson’, a feature-length documentary set to drop on 12 October. It’s a blend […]

Nick Cave uses YouTube Premieres to debut entire album

What were you doing last night? Music Ally was listening to the premiere of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ new album ‘Ghosteen’ with more than 19,300 other people… on YouTube. The band made use of YouTube’s ‘Premieres’ feature, but instead of using it to debut a single track/video, they premiered their entire album – using lyric […]

Sandbox Issue 237: VIEWTUBE. When Music Video Plays Get Juiced

Lead: Sony Music India artist Badshah claimed to have broken the 24-hour record on YouTube for 75m plays of his track ‘Paagal’ in July. Then people started asking questions. It eventually emerged that the track’s success had been boosted by TrueView ads before and during other YouTube videos, all of which counted toward the opening […]

What the ‘Paagal’ YouTube controversy means for music marketing

Back in July, Sony Music India claimed that its artist Badshah had broken the record for most first-24-hour streams for a music video on YouTube. However, his 75m-views milestone was called into question when it emerged that the label had boosted those views with advertisements. YouTube has since changed its calculations for charts and 24-hour-debut […]

YouTuber Shane Dawson sparks 800k streams for Catie Turner track

Singer/songwriter Catie Turner’s song ‘Prom Queen’ is finding an audience on Spotify. Since its release earlier this year, the track has been streamed nearly 1.3m times on Spotify, while a live acoustic video has been watched more than 700k times on YouTube. What’s interesting is that a lot of this buzz has come in the last week, […]

YouTube adds 14 artists to its Foundry development program

YouTube developing music artists? It’s been at it for a while, with its Foundry ‘global artist development program’, which first launched in 2016 as a training scheme, of sorts, for artists including Dua Lipa, Rosalía, Dave and Mahalia. In April this year it was ‘refreshed‘ as an initiative offering marketing promotion as well as training […]

Dead End Hip Hop talks platforms, Patreon and hip-hop in 2019

Founded in 2011, Dead End Hip Hop (DEHH) has built a strong community around its discussions of hip-hop’s music and culture, with more than 233,000 subscribers on YouTube, and nearly 3,300 fans funding the company’s work through Patreon. In an email interview with Music Ally, DEHH’s six-strong team – Kennith B. Inge, Roderic Wright (aka […]

YouTube excludes paid-ad views from its music charts and 24-hour records

YouTube is making a change to the way it calculates its YouTube Music charts, and its ’24-hour debut’ records. From now on, paid advertising views will not count towards either. The change follows a recent controversy when Sony Music India claimed that artist Badshah had broken YouTube’s 24-hour-debut record, before it emerged that paid ads […]

Musicians star in ‘Seize the Awkward’ mental-health campaign

Four musicians are taking part in a new mental-health campaign aimed at teenagers and young adults. Lindsey Stirling, Hayley Kiyoko, Aminé, and Christina Perri are the stars of the latest ‘Seize the Awkward’ campaign, which is being run by the Ad Council in the US. Each artist features in their own short video released through the […]

UMG’s schlager YouTube channel is doing 30m views a month

This story has been written to the soundtrack of gravelly-voiced German artist Ben Zucker, as well as the ‘Ultimatver Party Hitmix’ of his compatriot Sonia Liebing. It’s been quite the listen. Why? Because we’ve been investigating Universal Music’s ‘Ich Find Schlager Toll!’ YouTube channel (translation: ‘I think Schlager’s great!’). It’s one of the projects called […]

Google and YouTube to pay $170m in child-privacy settlement

After months of speculation, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) yesterday announced details of its settlement with Google and YouTube over alleged violations of child-privacy law. The big number: $170m. That’s how much Google and YouTube are paying to settle the allegations that YouTube “illegally collected personal information from children without their parents’ consent”. $136m of that […]

‘Juicing’ YouTube views with ads isn’t just an India thing

Sony Music artist Badshah came under the spotlight recently when his label claimed he’d broken YouTube’s first-day-views record; YouTube pointedly didn’t confirm it (and still hasn’t); and then debate ensued about the strategy of buying Google ads to boost a video’s view-count on YouTube. As Times Music COO Mandar Thakur crisply put it in a panel at […]

YouTube tipped to be fined up to $200m in child-privacy case

There has been gossip about an imminent settlement between Google/YouTube and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for some time now. The latest burst of reports suggests that YouTube will be paying between $150m and $200m in fines, as part of  settlement of charges relating to children’s privacy – and specifically to data collection and […]

Taylor Swift drops ‘Lover’ video ahead of album release

What’s that? Taylor Swift has a new album out? You’d think someone in the media and/or streaming-service world would have told you, right? Just joking: ‘Lover’ is inescapable this week, with a full complement of DSP activations and media excitement for Swift’s first post-Big-Machine album. One of the key planks in the promotional strategy was […]

Google tests Fundo, a new take on fan-funding for YouTube stars

Fundo is a new project in beta from Google’s experimental division Area 120, although its bare-bones website doesn’t divulge much information about it. “If you’re a creator on YouTube or other platforms and you’re interested in new ways to engage your audience, please request an invitation,” it explains, with a link to a form that reveals […]

YouTube to host ‘Lover’s Lounge’ live event for Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s new album ‘Lover’ drops on 23 August, and she has teamed up with YouTube for a live-streamed event the day before called ‘Lover’s Lounge (Live)’. It’ll see Swift performing a new track from the album, taking part in a Q&A, and plugging her collaboration with Stella McCartney on a new clothing range. At […]

YouTube manual-claiming copyright tool gets more changes

The news that YouTube is making changes to the way its copyright-claims process works for music used in videos sounds like big news, but the caveat in this case is that the changes apply to ‘manual’ claims. That’s as opposed to automated claims using its Content ID system, which account for the “vast majority” of […]

YouTube and Amazon push for US students’ music subscriptions

The summer holidays are just a couple of weeks in here in the UK where Music Ally is written from, so seeing ‘back to school’ headlines from the US already is a strange experience. Part of that, though, is the upcoming start of another academic year for older students, and music-streaming services are joining the […]

Sandbox Issue 234: The New Era Of Music Videos

Lead: In the 1970s, “pop promos” (as they were called) were the preserve of the mega-star act, but after the launch of MTV in 1981 they became standard practice across the industry. The arrival of YouTube in 2005 may have blown apart MTV’s dominance but the format of music videos did not change much; it […]

M2V: music video finds its new future

Debate surrounds what the first music video actually was, but by the 1970s these “pop promos” had become the playthings of the biggest acts in the world while by the 1980s, after the arrival of MTV, they were the biggest weapons in the promotional arms race for everyone. All the arrival of YouTube in 2005 […]

Badshah far from the only artist buying YouTube views with ads

There is still no official word from YouTube on whether Indian artist Badshah has set a new record for first-day views of a music video, beating BTS’ previous milestone. If YouTube is hoping its silence will make the controversy around Sony Music’s claims of 75m 24-hour views for Badshah’s video ‘Paagal’ go away, however, it […]

Anuel AA, Daddy Yankee, Karol G, Ozuna and J Balvin team up for ‘China’

Want a recipe to make a big splash with a music video on YouTube in 2019? Well, you could be BTS or Taylor Swift; you could buy a shedload of Google Ads; or you could round up a bunch of the biggest Latin American artists of the moment for a mega-collaboration. The latest example of Option […]

Study explores patterns of ‘high-subscriber’ YouTube channels

If you’re thinking about YouTube and music, you should definitely read the latest report by research company the Pew Research Center, which came out yesterday. Titled ‘A Week in the Life of Popular YouTube Channels’, it’s based on an analysis of the videos posted by channels with more than 250,000 subscribers in the first week of […]

Analysts frustrated at lack of hard numbers on YouTube

How much money does YouTube make? The New York Times offers a carefully-vague suggestion in its latest article about Alphabet’s video service: “YouTube probably generates $16 billion to $25 billion in annual revenue, making the video service big enough to crack the top half of the Fortune 500.” The ‘probably’ actually illustrates the main thrust of the […]

YouTube and Mr Eazi team up to help emerging Nigerian artists

YouTube is already the most significant digital platform for Afrobeats artists looking to build their global audiences. Now the service has teamed up with Nigerian artist Mr Eazi and his emPawa Africa incubator to provide direct support for 10 emerging artists from Nigeria. The scheme will see those artists supported in recording music, making videos and getting […]

Queen launch UGC contest as ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ reaches 1bn views

Fuelled by the recent biopic, Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has become the first pre-1990s video to pass 1bn views on YouTube. The achievement has been marked by a new, remastered ‘HD’ version of the video on Queen’s YouTube channel, complete with the lyrics in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Japanese, Polish, German, Indonesian Bahasa, Korean, Czech, Russian and Turkish […]

FIMI boss urges Spotify to ‘do more’ to persuade Italians to subscribe

Something you won’t hear very much at a music-industry conference in 2019: people talking about piracy. Something you will hear a fair bit: people talking about how streaming has successfully seen off piracy as an existential worry for the industry. No wonder the ‘value gap’ has been a much more prominent debate among rightsholders and […]

FTC mulls changes to child-privacy regulations in the US

YouTube and TikTok (among other digital services) will have been put on notice by an announcement this week by the US Federal Trade Commission about children’s privacy regulations. The COPPA rule was first implemented in the US in 2000, and concerns how websites and digital services handle personal information from children aged under 13. Now […]

YouTube Music adds feature to switch between audio and video

YouTube’s latest improvement to its YouTube Music app focuses on the boundary between audio and video. Since launch, people have been able to choose to listen to audio-only versions of songs in YouTube Music, or watch their music videos. What’s new this week is the ability to flick between those two modes while listening/watching. “No […]

Badshah’s ‘record-breaking’ track missing from YouTube chart

We reported last week on Sony Music India’s claim that artist Badshah had broken YouTube’s 24-hour-views record, with 75m views of his ‘Paagal’ music video in its first 24 hours. Music Ally contacted YouTube at the time to get verification, and is still waiting for an official response. One thing’s for sure though: the video […]

Google AdWords promotion was key to Badshah YouTube success

On Friday, we reported on Indian artist Badshah’s success with his new music video ‘Paagal’, and Sony Music India’s claim that it had broken BTS’ YouTube 24-hour-debut record with 75m views in its first day on the platform. We’re still waiting for YouTube to officially confirm the record, but in India there has been criticism […]

YouTube may be blocking stream-ripping sites from ripping vids

Up to this point, much of the music industry’s action against ‘stream-ripping’ websites has been taken by industry bodies taking those sites to court and getting them shut down. Now it seems the main site from which streams are being ripped, YouTube, is joining the battle in earnest. “Several stream-ripping sites have been unable to […]

Lickd says Ed Sheeran is most-longed-for licence for YouTubers

Ed Sheeran is big on YouTube: as Music Ally recently reported, his channel has just passed the milestone of 40 million subscribers, while it’s now also past the 17bn views mark. However, Sheeran is also the top artist cited by YouTubers when asked whose music they most want to license for use in their videos. […]

YouTube adds new requirement for manual Content ID claims

YouTube’s Content ID copyright-protection system has long been a target of criticism not from music rightsholders, but from ‘creators’ on the platform. Now YouTube is making a change that it hopes will tackle the issues raised by some of those critics. “We’ve heard from creators that the recent uptick of manual claims, especially for short […]

New YouTube milestones for Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes

Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes are no stranger to big digital numbers. Their latest achievements come from YouTube. Sheeran’s official artist channel has just reached 40 million subscribers, which YouTube says makes him only the second artist to hit that milestone. The first? Justin Bieber: he’s on 45.6 million YouTube subscribers. Eminem (38.1 million), Ariana Grande […]

Sandbox issue 231: Conversions. Tracking Cause and Effect in fan marketing

Lead: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half,” is a quote commonly attributed to Philadelphian retailer John Wanamaker in the 1800s and it has haunted the advertising and marketing worlds ever since. Spending money and hoping for a consumer reaction previously involved stacking up a […]

Chartmetric explores the ‘trigger cities’ of south-east Asia

Earlier this year we wrote about music-analytics firm Chartmetrics’ theory of ‘trigger cities’ capable of propelling tracks to become global hits. Now the company has published a second in its series of blog posts focusing on the region of south-east Asia in this regard. There’s some good data on how Spotify is functioning as a platform in […]

Universal Music works with YouTube to remaster old music videos

Universal Music Group is following in the Spice Girls’ footsteps – not a sentence we ever expected to write in a Music Ally story – by remastering some classic videos for YouTube viewers in 2019. The Spice Girls, if you remember, started replacing their grainy old videos with spiffing new 4K-quality ones earlier this year. Now […]

YouTube cracks down on videos with supremacist content

YouTube is one of the platforms most under pressure to tackle hate content in 2019, and yesterday it announced its latest moves. “Today, we’re taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, […]

Study claims music was 20% of all YouTube views in 2018

When the music industry criticises YouTube for the royalties generated by music videos, it’s driven by the assumption that music drives a LOT of YouTube viewing. But that’s often just what it is: an assumption, without much hard data to back it up. With that in mind, a new study by video and music analytics firm […]

YouTube adds more ticketing features through AXS partnership

YouTube continues to build up the concert-ticketing features within its service. The latest example is a partnership with ticketing firm AXS, focused on the US. “Fans watching videos from YouTube Official Artist Channels will now see listings from AXS events included on the video page,” explained YouTube. “Taking the jump to the live experience is easier than […]

Are Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube the new record labels?

Spotify is signing direct licensing deals with some artists and testing the ability to allow others to upload directly to its platform. YouTube and Apple Music are creating content and putting marketing budget behind artists. And Apple Music has also acquired Platoon, the British startup which helped a number of emerging artists to develop, including […]

T-Series hits 100m subscribers on YouTube

We have been writing about T-Series, the Indian label and film production company that specialises in Bollywood soundtracks, for several years but have been most intrigued by its move onto YouTube, especially as it began to overtake PewDiePie in terms of channel subscribers (although that got very, very ugly on PewDiePie’s side). Now T-Series has just passed 100m subscribers, […]

Vevo’s Greg Duffy explains how artists can ‘growth hack the music video’

‘Growth hacking’ is very much a Silicon Valley phrase: a term used to cover a range of tactics used by startups when they’re trying to build a big audience very fast, in their early years.  Yesterday at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in New York, Vevo’s business operations and strategy manager Greg Duffy applied the […]

Old Town Road takes top spot in YouTube’s global songs chart

Remember when Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ was very much a US thing, with the controversy over whether it qualified for the country-music charts? Now it’s absolutely a global thing: last week, it dislodged K-Pop stars Blackpink from the top of YouTube’s global top-songs chart. ‘Old Town Road’ generated 73.6m views on YouTube in the […]

YouTube unveils ‘Bumper Machine’ tool to create six-second ads

YouTube has launched a couple of new ways to advertise on its platform, which may be of use for artists or smaller labels who are lacking the time and resources for creating and editing video ads. One of them is called Bumper Machine, and it’s a tool for creating the six-second ‘bumper ads’ that YouTube says […]

How Otis McDonald built a career… though royalty-free YouTube music

With the EU Copyright Directive passed but still to be implemented by the different member states, the issue of the ‘value gap’ certainly hasn’t gone away. At the heart of this debate is the argument that ‘user-uploaded content’ services, most notably YouTube, that use music as such a core part of their business should be […]

YouTube makes an artist spotlight story for Maren Morris

Country star Maren Morris is the latest artist to get an ‘Artist Spotlight Story’ from YouTube. It debuted on 10 May: a 15-minute mini-documentary that tracks Morris’ journey from “from her early days singing in honky-tonks, to becoming a songwriter in Nashville, to climbing the charts and breaking new ground in country music as a Grammy-winning performing […]

Will Article 17 have unintended consequences for musicians?

The new European Copyright Directive, complete with its Article 17 (formerly 13) on liability for user-uploaded-content platforms, is about to be passed into law, and then transposed into the legislation of the EU’s member countries. But will there be some effects on musicians beyond improving the bargaining power of their rightsholders when sitting down to […]

Report claims Google has 15m paying music subscribers

Google hasn’t revealed how many paying subscribers its YouTube Music subscription service has, and it’s been a long time since we saw any numbers for its existing Google Play Music. Now Bloomberg has tried to plug that gap with a report mooting a number for the combined figure of both services. “Google’s paid music services have eclipsed […]

YouTube Coachella festival livestream generated 82m views

YouTube says that its livestream of the first weekend of the Coachella festival last month set a new record: 82m live views, up an impressive 90% on the figure for 2018’s event. “After nine years of success in the desert, we’re doubling down on music festivals, starting with a new two-year partnership to live stream […]

PRS for Music boss Robert Ashcroft talks growth, YouTube and Fortnite

“Maybe what I’ll say is this: I’ve done 10 years of this. I’m going to let someone else take on the internecine warfare that seems to be endemic to the music industry!” Even when he’s playing a straight bat to a sensitive question – in this case, one about whether songwriters deserve a bigger slice of […]

TuneCore reaches $1.5bn payouts, cites YouTube and Africa growth

Music distributor TuneCore has hit its latest milestone: $1.5bn of distribution revenue for its independent artists. That’s after earnings of $83m in the first quarter of 2019, up 21% year-on-year. This follows a 28% increase (to $308m) for TuneCore’s distribution income in 2018 as a whole. The company noted that YouTube monetisation showed particularly encouraging […]

Taylor Swift ‘Me!’ video did 65.2m views in its first 24 hours

Her fans made a sterling effort, but Taylor Swift’s new video didn’t quite knock BTS off their perch holding YouTube’s record for a video’s most views in its first 24 hours. Their ‘Boy With Luv’ generated 74.6m in that period, while Swift’s ‘Me!’ video with Brendon Urie ended up getting 65.2m views in its first 24 hours. […]

BTS top YouTube global artist chart with Blackpink at number two

Music Ally reported last week on the success of K-Pop group Blackpink, specifically on YouTube, where they topped its weekly artists chart with 342m views for their music. Now they’ve been unseated… by another K-Pop group. Yes, BTS are sitting proudly atop this week’s YouTube artists chart, with 307m views for their music in the week […]

YouTube Music launches free, ad-supported tier for Google Home speakers

Reports earlier this week that Amazon was preparing to launch a free music-streaming tier for its Echo smart speakers sparked a drop in Spotify’s share price. So what effect will today’s news that YouTube Music is launching a ‘free, ad-supported experience’ for Google Home speakers have? In fact, YouTube Music’s free audio tier will work […]

Blackpink soar to top of YouTube chart with 342m weekly views

We’ve reported a few times recently on the way Indian and Latin American artists are dominating the upper reaches of YouTube’s global artists chart. Last week, though, they were trumped by a pop band from South Korea. No, not that one. Blackpink were the top artist on YouTube for the week of 5-11 April with a mightily-impressive […]

Lickd boss says Article 13 issue ‘is not going to go away’

Europe’s new copyright directive has passed its latest legislative hurdle, winning the approval of the European Union member states, after being voted through by the European Parliament last month. “With today’s agreement, we are making copyright rules fit for the digital age. Europe will now have clear rules that guarantee fair remuneration for creators, strong […]

Classic Spice Girls videos remastered for YouTube in 4K https://musically.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpquality

As an industry, we’re familiar with the idea of remasters in the audio world, where classic albums are revamped and released for modern listening kit / audio quality. We don’t think as much about videos getting the same treatment, but if you’ve ever been down one of those YouTube rabbit-holes with music videos from the […]

BTS smash YouTube record with 78m first-day views of ‘Boy With Luv’

2019 is going to be a very big year for K-Pop stars BTS, spurred by their new mini-album ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’. Milestones are already tumbling. The band’s ‘Boy With Luv’ video smashed YouTube’s single-day viewing record, notching up 78m views in its first 24 hours last week. That takes the record from another K-Pop band, […]

YouTube has introduced new metrics to judge video success

Once upon a time, ‘views’ were the big metric that counted on YouTube. Then it moved on to ‘watch time’, but if you want to know what’s next, Bloomberg’s latest article is well worth a read. It claims that YouTube has “introduced two new internal metrics in the past two years for gauging how well videos […]

Julian Casablancas discards Spotify and Apple Music utterly, begrudgingly praises YouTube

Julian Casablancas of The Strokes and Cult Records has been speaking to Billboard about his various music projects, his record label and dealing with the creative process. But buried in the middle of the interview he talks about his dislike and distrust of most streaming services – and what their rise means for artists and labels. “In […]

YouTube programming gets interactive

Ben Relles has been named as the new head of innovation at YouTube, a role that will see the video platform move deeper into interactive programming and live specials. He was previously head of unscripted (i.e. reality/documentary etc.) content at YouTube. There was a huge buzz around interactive TV late last year when the Bandersnatch episode […]

YouTube Music hits 3m downloads in one week in India

The top bosses at YouTube, including CEO Susan Wojcicki and global head of music Lyor Cohen, are in India to mark the launch of YouTube Music there, announcing the app has been downloaded 3m times in its first week. (In comparison, Spotify said 1m people had signed up for the service during the first week […]

Polyglot marketing: streaming’s many and varied global battle lines

The IFPI’s global sales figures for 2018 were, once again, all about streaming driving the industry’s recovery. The overall market was up 9.7% (both downloads and physical declined sharply), while streaming jumped 34% and now makes up 46.9% of revenues globally. The jostling for dominance in this booming market is something that will continue apace, […]

YouTube names 11 independent artists for 2019 Foundry class

Working directly with independent artists is on the agenda of every major music-streaming service in 2019. But of course, it’s also intrinsic to YouTube as a platform, for creators of all stripes. YouTube Music has a specific initiative for musicians called Foundry, which has been running since 2016 as a way to choose a crop […]

The Battle of Billie Eilish: Spotify, Apple and YouTube scrap it out

Original content is a big strategic focus for the major streaming services in 2019, as is ‘claiming’ as many rapidly-emerging artists as possible, in terms of creating said original-content for and with them. Billie Eilish, whose debut album ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ is out today, looks set to become one […]

Report 422: Playlisting’s next leap forward

Playlists have been referred to as everything from the new album, the new compilation, the new greatest hits, through to the new radio, the new MTV and more. Whether you’re a pop act trying to build a truly global audience or just trying to make a living from making mood music, if you’re not on […]

Nigerian artist Burna Boy gets a YouTube Artist Spotlight

Afrobeats artist Burna Boy is the latest musician to get a ‘YouTube Artist Spotlight Story’ produced by Google’s video service. He’s the first Nigerian artist to be chosen as an ‘artist on the rise’ by YouTube Music, to recognise the way he’s building an audience around the world with his videos. YouTube also provided some stats to […]

Blackpink are first K-Pop artist with 20m YouTube subscribers

Chances are, when asked who the first K-Pop artist with 20 million YouTube subscribers was, many people would guess BTS. But no: their BangtanTV channel currently has 16.2 million subscribers, while the first Korean star to break through on YouTube, Psy, has 12.7 million. So take a bow girl-band Blackpink, whose channel has just crossed the […]

Pro-Article-13 bodies ask for access to YouTube promo tools

Creative-industries group Europe for Creators is raising a rumpus about the way YouTube has been promoting its campaign to change the proposed European copyright directive on its own platform. The body published an open letter to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki claiming that “YouTube has been actively using its own services to influence public opinion, often […]

YouTube stories get their own Snapchat-style AR features

Snapchat has its lenses, Instagram has its face-filters, and now YouTube has its own augmented-reality effects, which can be used in ‘stories’ posted to the video service. They’re a mixture of animated face-masks, hats and sunglasses that can be used in short videos posted by YouTube creators who have access to the ‘stories’ tool – which […]

YouTube disables comments on videos that feature children

YouTube has a big problem this week, and it’s nothing to do with European copyright reform. The video service has been under fire for its policies around protecting children who feature in videos on its platform. Why? Because of reports about child predators leaving suggestive (or worse) comments on such videos. Yesterday, YouTube outlined how it’s trying to […]

Billie Eilish is first artist for YouTube mini-series format

The latest video on artist Billie Eilish’s YouTube channel sees her rifling through her notebook: “an audio visual journey into the thoughts of Billie Eilish, exploring the inspiration behind songs” from her new album, according to its blurb. This is actually the first of a new format on YouTube under the banner of ‘mini series’ – three-to-five […]

YouTube simplifies its Community Guidelines strikes system

While the dust continues to settle from the Article 13 battle in Europe – at least temporarily – YouTube has announced a revamp of how its Community Guidelines strikes work. This is the system by which channels get three strikes before facing “more severe consequences” for breaking YouTube’s guidelines. In a blog post announcing the changes, YouTube […]

Marshmello YouTube channel got 164% boost from Fortnite concert

We wrote last week that we were waiting for the latest weekly YouTube Music charts to go live, so that we could gauge the bump that dance artist Marshmello got from his concert in YouTube. Not least because anecdotally, nearly every child aged 8-13 we know has been hammering his tracks on YouTube ever since […]

Sandbox Issue 221: Fake Views. Lies, damned lies and music statistics

Lead: Smoke and mirrors have always been part of music, but when it comes to data, truth is starting to play second fiddle to hype. The nefarious and ruthless are finding ways to “massage” social media and streaming numbers while offering the desperate and gullible a quick fix. But the platforms are getting wise to […]

Study tips YouTube to decline in popularity with British kids

Will children ever tire of YouTube? Surely not! Yet that’s the suggestion being made in a new report published by research firm Kids Insights, which is out today. “According to our data across all ages 4-18 the number of children spending time each day watching YouTube has declined from 61% to 51% in a persistent […]

Zee Music Company reaches 30m-subscribers YouTube milestone

It’s not just T-Series doing well at signing subscribers up for Indian-music YouTube channels. Zee Music Company has announced its own milestone: 30 million subscribers for its flagship YouTube channel, which mixes film and non-film music. “Zee Music Company is now 30 million subscribers strong on YouTube India. A big THANK YOU to all for […]

Music-streaming in the Middle East: ‘There is a space and place for everyone’

Spotify and Deezer’s recent launches in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have highlighted the region’s status as a strategic priority for the music industry – although these companies (and Apple Music) are facing strong competition from local streaming service Anghami. Trends in the MENA region were the focus for a panel session at Music […]

The top three artists on YouTube last week were all from India

Guess who the most popular musician in the world was last week based on YouTube views? Not Ariana Grande, who’s currently Spotify’s top artist: she was only 21st in YouTube’s weekly rankings for 11-17 January – admittedly before the release of her latest track ‘7 Rings’, which has done 60m+ views in its first five days on […]

YouTube backs Maggie Rogers as first Artist On The Rise of 2019

Capitol Records artist Maggie Rogers is the first musician that YouTube has chosen for its Artist On The Rise marketing program in 2019. The initiative is focused on ‘up-and-coming’ talent, with Rogers having first come to prominence in 2016 in a video of a masterclass held by Pharrell Williams in New York, when one of […]

Watch your profanity! YouTube explains how swearing affects ads

YouTube’s latest educational video is aimed at all creators, not just musicians, but for any artists who like to turn the air blue with ‘industrial language’ it’s worth a watch. It explains how “vulgarity or inappropriate language” affects whether a video can be monetised with advertising or not. Ads are fine for “light profanity (shit, […]

Sandbox Issue 219: The Tools and Trends That Will Shape 2019

Lead: A new year and a new slate. To kick off the year, we speak to marketers around the business and around the world about what tools they think will be indispensable and what trends they believe will shape 2019. From AR filters and scarcity to algorithmic personalisation of playlists, the continued rise of Latin […]

YouTube continues its livestreaming partnership with Coachella

YouTube will be the exclusive livestreaming partner for American music-festival Coachella this year – the ninth year for the partnership. In fact, the deal is expanding, with YouTube now the exclusive playlists and livestreaming partner for both weekends of the festival – previously it only streamed the first weekend. “Additionally, YouTube Music and YouTube Premium […]

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