1% of YouTube Videos = 93% of YouTube Views

My YouTube Video Is Bigger Than Your YouTube Video

93% all YouTube views comes from a tiny number of videos, according to just-released research.

YouTube is one of the largest media properties on the planet, and arguably the largest single place for listening to music on the planet.  But this is an incredibly lopsided platform when it comes to traffic, with the top 1% of videos drawing almost all of the views.  “Content and usage seem to be relatively concentrated across several dimensions,” said Carlos Kirjner of Bernstein Research, as reported by Barron’s.

“For example, 1% of YouTube videos correspond to 93% of views since inception; 94% of viewing time (since inception) is also concentrated in about 1% of the videos in the library.”

That conclusion was based on a sample of about 10 million videos, which yielded other gems like where music falls into the hierarchy.  “There is also concentration across genres,” Kirjner continued.  “People and Blogs, followed by Music, Gaming and Entertainment are the genres with the largest number of videos since inception in the YouTube library… and together they make up 67% of the total videos in the library.”

YouTube: Music Is Tiny.

That sharply contrasts with statements from YouTube, which recently indicated that music was a trivial and unimportant contributor to overall viewing traffic.  In a statement issued in late April, Head of YouTube International Music Partnerships Christophe Muller claimed that viewers spend a relatively tiny amount of time viewing music-related content.  “The final claim that the industry makes is that music is core to our popularity,” Muller blogged.  “Despite the billions of views music generates, the average YouTube user spends just one hour watching music on YouTube a month.  Compare that to the 55 hours a month the average Spotify subscriber consumes.”

That figure, if believed, would mean that music-related videos account for roughly 2.5% of overall viewing, a figure the music industry dismissed as ridiculous spin.

The Bernstein research also uncovered some breathtakingly lopsided statistics.  For example, just 4.3% of videos have more than 10,000 views, while 2.7% of videos have zero views on the platform.

That extreme imbalance likely extends to music, where the biggest videos have billions of views.  All of which begs the question: if the music industry hates YouTube so much, why don’t they just remove their biggest videos?  On that point, Kirjner noted that in the end, this is a platform that could easily survive a major label pullout.  “We conclude that it makes perfect sense for Google to invest and/or incent some of its largest and most successful creators, channels and networks to retain them, but, despite a high degree of relative concentration, YouTube’s scale protects Google and limits the value of any single content creator, channel or multichannel network operator.”

All of which suggests that YouTube is calling the music industry’s bluff.

 

 

Image by Tinou Bao, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).

26 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Why is this surprising or bad? You now how many people post dumbass videos that nobody looks at or wants to look at? If you wanna boost the views of some backwoods hillbilly ranting about muslims and trans people in the bathroom, or some tone deaf dude playing a shitty cover of Hallelujah, go for it. The rest of humanity will stick with that 1% of videos worth watching.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      “Why is this surprising or bad? “

      Agree, this is the one ‘unfair’ YouTube aspect that isn’t Google’s fault.

      1% of records probably account for approx 93% of record sales too, and that’s not a problem either.

      Reply
      • FarePlay

        Of course that’s THE problem. You’ve gutted the great niche music that doesn’t pay anymore.

        You’ve taken the artist who could make $50 k selling music and sent them a check for $5.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          I’m with you on most topics — but you can’t make people watch bad or boring videos.

          And why would you?

          Goes for music too, and it always did.

          Only problem is that the total slice is cut down by 50% because of piracy and Spotify.

          Reply
          • Me2

            Sorry, but niche does not equate to bad or boring. Let’s keep this on point. The middle class was eviscerated.

          • Anonymous

            You couldn’t keep people away from a good video if you tried.

            Good niche videos won’t get 100m views, at least not in the short term, but they will always be popular among their intended audiences.

          • Me2

            100,000 views is like what, 50 bucks? Assuming you get it. I didn’t, even at 140k. Top video had 60k+ YT never replied to anything. I think you’ve proven the point here.

          • Anonymous

            “100,000 views is like what, 50 bucks? Assuming you get it. I didn’t, even at 140k. Top video had 60k+ YT never replied to anything.”

            I think what you’re critisizing is the fact that you’re not paid for 60k views — which is a disgrace — not that you didn’t get 60m.

            The former is YouTube’s fault, the latter isn’t.

          • Me2

            “I think what you’re critisizing is the fact that you’re not paid for 60k views — which is a disgrace — not that you didn’t get 60m.”

            Exactly!

            I was surprised to get even 60k views. This was VERY niche, but quality music that people liked.

    • Remi Swierczek

      It is surprising, bad and actually STUPID!
      Taylor Swift is in that 93%, lat year made $73 million and YouTube / Vevo team team has paid to her $4 million dollars (5% of her income)
      She or music industry in general DOES NOT NEED YouTube!

      YouTube without the music would be half size and two billion dollars a year in the red.

      Most likely it still short to cover the cost of servers and electricity!

      Reply
    • Versus

      ” The rest of humanity will stick with that 1% of videos worth watching.”

      You mean like Gangnam Style?

      Reply
      • GGG

        Sure. That video was great the first time I watched it. You’re lying if you said you didn’t enjoy it somewhat the first time, too.

        It’s irrelevant that it got played into the ground and none of us give a shit about it anymore.

        Reply
  2. Anonymous

    “Christophe Muller claimed that viewers spend a relatively tiny amount of time viewing music-related content.”

    Oh my god — guess, he’s a liar then!

    Surprise, surprise…

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    “All of which begs the question: if the music industry hates YouTube so much, why don’t they just remove their biggest videos?”

    Because the future is video-based. So yes, we obviously need a video platform in that future.

    But it’s not going to be YouTube.

    Reply
    • Paul Resnikoff
      Paul Resnikoff

      This is really about leverage. I think YouTube might be saying, ‘go ahead, rip down your videos.’

      Because, where else are they going to go? A platform the industry creates? That would be VEVO.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        “Because, where else are they going to go? A platform the industry creates?”

        A platform the artists create — and own.

        Could be Tidal (I wouldn’t have said that a year ago, but it keeps popping up), or it could be something else. The video market is very new, and lots of things will happen.

        As for Google, I think the criticism has reached a critical mass. People hate it more than they ever hated labels, you know…

        Reply
      • Versus

        Why not go to VEVO or some other platform?
        End users won’t care, as long as they can easily find the videos to view.

        Rights holders, such as labels, should at least insist on only putting their videos on hosting sites which respect copyright, pay appropriately, and do transparent accounting. If no such host exists, then the music industry should make its own.

        Reply
  4. FUH

    LMFAO.

    All the grains of sand on the earth are only 0.000001% the amount of stars in the Milky Way. Jeezus Paul.

    Reply
  5. Versus

    What have got to lose?
    All labels and artists should pull their music from YouTube, and demand ContentID accessible to all, to be used to completely block all uploads to YouTube.
    Either this will hurt GoogleTube or it won’t; it’s still the right move.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      “All labels and artists should pull their music from YouTube, and demand ContentID accessible to all”

      The truth is that everybody wants to — but nobody can’t, unless we all do it at once.

      So what we need here is a really orchestrated effort.

      And that shouldn’t be so hard, should it? Most of us know a bit about orchestration…

      “Either this will hurt GoogleTube or it won’t”

      We shouldn’t do it to hurt Google, or as part of a negotiation to try to get leverage.

      We should do it because it’s the right thing to do. YouTube is not your friend and never will be.

      As for YouTube’s future without artists and labels:

      Music may only account for approx 45-50% of YouTube’s total traffic, but it account for most of its brand value.

      If all artists and labels migrate from YouTube to Tidal today — and remove all our music from game channels, TV-shows, movies, etc. — YouTube will shut down tomorrow!

      Reply
  6. Buddy Zappa

    Why would any of you believe ANY report on data put out by Google/Youtube….
    I call BS….. They’re lieing through their teeth….

    Reply

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