[Column] Henri Lessing: Why we believe YouTube will become number one in music streaming
YouTube has always been an integral part of the music business. However, the platform is taking the music-streaming war to the next level, trying to build a unique music universe competitors like Spotify and Apple Music cannot be a part of.
It is the platform’s diversity of music content combined with innovative ad solutions and multiple revenue sources that give YouTube a competitive edge. Here are the main reasons why we believe YouTube is off to a good start to come back with the shield from the music-streaming wars.
COVID-19 YouTube music-streaming solutions
YouTube witnessed unprecedented popularity when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and people were no longer able to attend live shows. The best substitution for live concerts out there was live streaming on YouTube, which helped performers keep in contact with their fans and continue sharing their music with the world. Ever since all the venues got closed, more than 2 billion people have been using YouTube for music streaming each month. Naturally, such a massive shift did not go unnoticed: advertisers and marketers spotted new opportunities to reach engaged and invested audiences through the means of digital music.
Innovative features for users
A report by MIDiA Research claims that if YouTube manages to embrace full optimization, it will turn into the sole largest source of digital income for music rights holders. Users of all ages already see the platform as the best music-streaming app, especially the audience of 16 to 19 years old where the penetration is as high as 70%.
At present, YouTube Music can offer 70 million official tracks to its users, which is more than any other music service has at its disposal. Users get to enjoy all sorts of music content: from live streams to dance videos and from official tracks to user-generated covers.
One of the most popular solutions is music lineups, which give brands a chance to reach their potential audience based on particular music moods and genres. Those lineups come in several shapes and sizes, including dynamic lineups, which are most relevant locally, and YouTube Select Music Lineup, which is what one might call the “cherry on top” content: premium music content like official music videos.
Marketing opportunities for brands
Music video streaming is also at its highest on YouTube — more than 50% of logged-in music lovers consume at least 10 minutes of music content on a daily basis, which gives brands a chance to get heard and seen alongside unique music content (which is an effective yet barely touched strategy at the moment).
In November 2020, YouTube launched a new approach to advertising: 15-second audio ads coupled with special music lineups aimed at increasing ad revenue from music. This will help the industry take a new, more powerful role on the platform. Those audio ads give an untapped opportunity to make a connection with an audience devoted to their favourite content. Unlike other run-of-the-mill promotional content, audio ads breathe creativity and deliver a message through an audio soundtrack. With such listening-focused ads, the visual side is usually a simple animation or a still image.
YouTube alpha testing proves this new marketing invention to be highly effective: more than 75% of the analyzed audio ad campaigns on YouTube promise to give a considerable lift in brand awareness. For example, Shutterfly has already arranged an audio ad campaign and witnessed a 14% lift in ad recall and a 2% lift in favourability among their target customers.
Revenue Sources for Labels, Music Creators, and Performers
YouTube Music makes an appealing source of income for labels: they get the option of creating genre-driven hubs and eco-systems to control their target groups in an orderly fashion. Such labels can also use various channels, different formats, and content in line with relevant trends in order to promote and monetize their music assets — instead of just distributing a track/video clip. The moment the majority of music lovers and performers join YouTube, the snowball effect will kick in and labels will follow. Our AGE team solemnly believes in the importance of “growing” instead of only “managing & administrating” rights, that’s why we focus on growing channels and content on YouTube, rather than just managing them.
YouTube also makes a highly convenient platform for individual performers, giving the latter a unique chance to connect with their fan base on a personal level, which is one of the key lectures at AGE YouTube Academy. The platform gives a chance to combine official and non-official content like music pieces, live performances, vlogs, lifestyle content, behind-the-scenes content, personal content, and the like. This means that artists don’t only get to spread their music, but also build their personal brand image, create a bond with their subscribers and fans by treating them like friends and develop a distinct identity in the public eye, all of which makes it easier for one to succeed in the music industry.
Last but not least, all artists, big and small, are in control of their music with YouTube’s Digital Rights Management. They can manage their work on the platform: should someone upload a remix of their original song, they have the possibility to track user-generated uploads and collect statistics about video views or block unauthorized uploads. What’s even more exciting, they can monetize the uploads and remixes that stem from their tracks. This also gives DJs and indie creators, when they have permission, the unique opportunity to make remixes and uploads like this lo-fi beats piece Chill Beats or Shiko’s nightcore remix Ily and further diversify the ever-expanding YouTube music library.
It is, thus, as clear as day that YouTube is marching to the beat of its own drum and artists, labels and fans will soon follow.
Henri Lessing runs, together with Jennifer Feaster, a booming influencers hub, a boutique MCN (Multi Channel Network) and a YouTube content school, AGE Academy, proving that 'You can buy views but you can't buy love'