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YouTube has long been the most popular music service in the world. What has changed is that YouTube is no longer the Darth Vader of the music industry.
For years, some artists and dressers at record companies loved the number of clicks music videos received on YouTube, but they complained that the Google-owned site, wasn’t generating enough. money for them or not enough action to stop the scam. -thanks.
Those grievances have not completely disappeared, but they have mostly quieted down. Why? One big reason is that YouTube has found a way to generate enough cash to keep a lot of people in the music world happy — or at least enough content for now.
The question is whether YouTube has achieved lasting or temporary peace. If it had persisted, YouTube might have achieved something few internet companies have: a relatively healthy relationship with an age-old industry that it simultaneously helps and disrupts.
Take me back to the years when YouTube was in the home of the music industry. Industry powers frequently use the public relations acronym, “value gap,” for what they say is YouTube’s meager financial contribution to the music industry relative to its magnitude. popularity of music on the site. They like to point to the numbers showing that vinyl records generate more income for the music business than YouTube.
For the most part, YouTube makes money from musicians, musicians, and record labels the way Google does: It sells ads within or adjacent to music-related videos and splits the money between the people and companies behind the videos. song. Power brokers in the industry think it’s peanuts.
Fast-forward to last week, when YouTube revealed that it paid music companies, musicians and song writers more than $4 billion in the previous year. That comes from advertising money and something the industry has wanted forever and is now receiving – part of YouTube’s surprisingly large subscription business. (Subscribing to YouTube includes an ad-free version of the site and a Spotify-like service to watch music videos without any ads.)
The significance of YouTube’s dollar figure is that it’s not far off from the $5 billion that streaming king Spotify pays music industry participants from a portion of his subscriptions. (As a reminder: The industry mostly loves Spotify money, but some musicians Meanwhile, you won’t have any trouble.say they are altered by payments.)
Subscriptions will always be a YouTube hobby, but the numbers show that even a side gig for the company can be huge. And it bought peace by storming some of that wealth into the people behind the music. Lucas Shaw, a reporter for Bloomberg News, wrote this week. “But they don’t hate it anymore.”
YouTube views can also show that complaining works. The music industry has a pretty successful track record of taking public enemy #1 — Pandora for a while, Spotify, YouTube, and more recently apps like TikTok and Twitch — and publicly beating it. or play one rich company against another to get more money or something else they want.
Now it’s not YouTube’s turn to sit in the hot seat anymore, but I don’t know if it’s good. Mark Mulligan, an analyst and consultant in the music industry, and my colleague Ben Sisario told me that some of the same old grips are bubbling beneath the surface. Strong music players still believe that YouTube pays too little per click compared to other digital music services. And they fear that YouTube devalues songs everywhere because it’s not strong enough to stop pirated versions.
But perhaps, YouTube has shown that digital companies can grow an industry and make it stronger. That is a rarity. Think of the resentment many news organizations and websites have toward Facebook and Google, restaurants’ uneasy reliance on food delivery apps, and Netflix’s awkward marriage to entertainment companies. . Perhaps time and cash can reach the level of peace.
Before we go…
The ending of “too good to be true.” Uber, DoorDash, and Airbnb have for years had money to subsidize the cost of their convenience services. Kevin Roose, my colleague, writes that those fledgling companies need to turn a profit and that this, along with the pandemic-related quirks of the economy, is driving up prices for Ubers, scooters and Airbnb for rent.
A look at how the richest Americans are unlike the rest of us: ProPublica got its hands on data on the tax returns of some of America’s richest people, including tech billionaires, and identified those who use legal means to pay income taxes as little as one. a tiny fraction of their growing fortune. For example, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos paid no federal income tax in 2007 and 2011, and Tesla’s Elon Musk did in 2018, ProPublica reported.
It pioneered ways to make a living online: Wired writes about the legacy of Twitch, the live streaming service that created a way for people to monetize making content online through tips and subscriptions in exchange for recognition and connections. For better or for worse, without Twitch there probably wouldn’t be the “creative economy” of Substack writers, Instagram influencers, or Patreon podcasts.
Happy birthday to good dogs Charlie and Silas who, looking adorable in their glittery tiara.
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