Music business decisions are increasingly driven by innovative insights and the discovery of new trends, artists, and opportunities to engage audiences. As such, music creators benefit most from both a passionate network of supporters and also a diverse analytical toolkit.
It might surprise some to know that YouTube is the biggest source of digital music consumption in the world, so artist success on the video streaming platform is vital to understanding artist success across other streaming and social platforms and music industry verticals.
In February 2005, three former PayPal employees got together to found what would soon become the biggest video sharing platform in the world. While the true origin story is largely up for debate, the fundamental concept for the service was centered upon making it easier for people to upload, share, and access videos on the internet — many of which had first appeared on television but were no longer accessible anywhere else.
Initially, YouTube’s content was largely composed of clips from television, i.e., video content pulled from other sources and uploaded without express permission from copyright holders — content that’s sometimes referred to as User-Uploaded Content (UUC). Soon, however, behavior on the platform began to change with video virality and User-Generated Content (UGC), and YouTube gained more and more cultural capital as a social and discovery platform.
In the year following its founding, YouTube was acquired by Google for $1.65 billion. By this time, the music industry had already started to understand the importance of the platform for music, with music videos increasingly becoming one of its biggest sources of content consumption — even if it was a Saturday Night Live music video parody that really gave YouTube that initial “shot of adrenaline.”
In the intervening years between the digitally induced decline of the music industry’s physical market and the rise of audio-based streaming platforms like Spotify, YouTube became a quick and easy way for music consumers to listen to what they wanted, when they wanted … for free. Today, waning consumers off of that habit has proved rather difficult for audio-based DSPs, who still compete for consumption market share worldwide.
According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), in 2019, on-demand video streaming, i.e., YouTube, accounted for 47 percent of global on-demand music streaming. Premium audio-based streaming accounted for 37 percent, and free audio-based streaming accounted for just 15 percent.
The struggle for many rights holders is the fact that, on the whole, YouTube pays out considerably less than other DSPs for streams, as they operate under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which provides safe harbor laws stipulating no liability on the part of YouTube for copyright infringing UUC and UGC.
As such, according to the IFPI, in 2018, 272 million subscribers and ad-supported users on audio-based DSPs generated around $5.6 billion, while 1.3 billion video streamers generated only $8.6 million. In other words, video streamers accounted for 5x the amount of audio streamers, in terms of music consumption, but video streams — of which YouTube accounts for the vast majority — generated just 0.2 percent of the revenue that audio-based DSPs did. That’s what’s come to be known as the value gap.
Economics aside, just going by global user base alone, YouTube has developed into a hugely important music platform for artists (irrespective of Google’s YouTube Music platform), so understanding YouTube channel analytics through YouTube Studio has become indispensable in today’s music economy.
Part of what makes YouTube Studio so valuable for an artist and their team is unique insights like channel views, watch time, reach and engagement metrics, subscribers, audience demographics, and individual video analytics. Those are things you can’t really get anywhere else.
YouTube Studio gives you a granular view of your channel and video analytics, breaking down each of your metrics over time through your choice of line charts or bar charts.
Importantly, because YouTube is owned by Google, YouTube Studio also gives you an idea about where your channel and video views are coming from, i.e., your internet “Traffic Sources,” in addition to detailed marketing metrics like impressions and click-through-rate (CTR).
If you want to zoom in on your audience demographics, you can drill down to viewer age, viewer gender, operating system, and even translation use!
For artists and their teams, having these detailed insights into video streaming metrics makes YouTube Studio an absolutely essential tool in today’s increasingly data-driven industry.
Because tracks rule the day on streaming platforms, that’s what we try to bring to the fore, letting you filter not just your artist’s — but any artist’s — tracks across a number of dimensions. You’ll also be able to see instantly how many YouTube playlists each track has landed.
Speaking of playlists, you can use Chartmetric to break down all of the YouTube playlists an artist has been added to within the last year, filtering by editorial and primary artist. Then, you can follow the growth of an artist’s Playlist Count and Video Views over time.
Our streaming charts provide an even more comprehensive view of music data at the market level with both current and also historical data for YouTube’s Artists, Tracks, Music Videos, and Trending Music Videos charts, both globally and also for 45 individual countries from the United States to Zimbabwe.
Our audience analytics allow you to track artists’ YouTube trajectories throughout their careers, keying in on important releases and events and monitoring daily changes in Subscribers, Channel Views, Daily Video Views, and Monthly Video Views.
Our geographic data provides a country- and city-specific breakdown of an artist’s listener base worldwide, both in terms of views but also in terms of the percentage of an artist’s total views and how the geographic distribution of their audience has changed over time.
Importantly, we also provide Channel Audience Analytics, which compares an artist’s subscriber demographics to their commenter demographics, allowing you to get an idea of the different ways in your views engage with your content.
With Artist Pages for the 2M+ artists in our database, compare and contrast individual performance on Apple Music and various other platforms across the digital music landscape.
We are a small, highly skilled team with members from diverse backgrounds, and that diversity is celebrated just as much as our work is. We’re talented solo artists, but we’re a much better band. We are as much music data rockstars as we are music superfans, and we thrive as a bridge between music and technology, data and creativity.
Sign up for a free account at chartmetric.com, dive deeper into our features at blog.chartmetric.com, and check them out for yourself. We can’t wait to see what you create.