YouTube Paid The Music Industry Over $4Bn in Last 12 Months

YouTube catching up with Spotify to become the music rights industry’s No.1 royalty payer. In a fresh newsletter sent to the music industry, YouTube’s Global Head of Music Lyor Cohen confirmed that YouTube paid artists, songwriters, and rights-holders over $4 billion in the last 12 months – money derived from both YouTube ads and YouTube Music / YouTube Premium subscriptions.

“I came to work for YouTube because I believe in its potential to help shepherd a golden age for the music business”, said Lyor Cohen while claiming that YouTube Music is now the “fastest growing subscription service out there”.


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Earlier this year, at his Stream On event, Spotify boss Daniel Ek announced that his company paid out over $5 billion to the music industry in 2020. Cohen clearly has his eyes on Spotify’s No.1 position: the exec states that YouTube’s goal is now “to become the leading revenue generator for the music industry”.

The $4Bn-plus news therefore suggests that YouTube’s lifetime payout towards music rightsholders has now surpassed $15 billion. In October 2020, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai also revealed that YouTube had over 30 million YouTube Music and/or YouTube Premium subs, up from the 20m it counted at the end of 2019.