Everything fades, include The Beatles. At least according to Google data.
Interest in The Beatles is plunging dramatically on both Google and YouTube, according to data from the search giant. A quick look at Google Trends shows a fairly dramatic erosion in search traffic on both mainline search and YouTube, with drops reaching 70% since the early 2000s.
Here’s a look at overall Beatles searches on Google, worldwide, since 2004.
That represents a drop of nearly 70% over the past 13-14 years, according to the data.
Google Trends tracks a range of searches related to ‘The Beatles,’ including queries that contain the band’s name (like ‘who are the members of the beatles?’). In total, Google is tracking billions of different search queries, and categorizing them accordingly.
Here’s the similar Beatles dataset for YouTube. In this case, tracking goes back to 2008, though the trend is highly similar.
The takeaway here is simple: people are dramatically less interested in viewing Beatles videos on YouTube. In the past ten years, search volume for The Beatles has tanked more than 50%, according to the data set.
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YouTube’s broader search volume, meanwhile, has multiplied since 2008.
Paul McCartney is also suffering decreased interest. But as the most active and popular living Beatle, his trend is more stable.
Stones or Beatles?
By comparison, the Rolling Stones are far more popular on Google (and YouTube). But as tempting as it is to stoke a Stones vs. Beatles debate, it’s no longer a fair comparison. After all, nothing beats having the entire band alive — especially when it comes to touring, recording, and staying in the news.
And yes, marketing and publicity still matter, even for living legends. And so does remarkably great health in older age!
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People of my generation (I’m 35) and up know what there is to be known about the Beatles and have all the music many times over on different platforms! You have to think… 20 years ago, was when the Beatles Anthology was released… I was 15 and it sparked a bit of “Beatle-mania” again… I BECAME OBSESSED… matter of fact,I picked up playing the drums seriously after that first night the Anthology played from 9p-11p on Ch 6 ABC in my area… I joined a band and have played ever since! But… now… Im 35, my kids who are 8 and 11… can name which Beatle is signing about half the time when a song is on… and guess when its one of the Fabs on a solo song… they tend to call more music the Beatles that what it really is… but, really they are still too young to have any interest! Now my brother, that I have custody of… he is 16, I only got him last year after our dad passed. He wouldn’t have a CLUE what a Beatles’ song would be… I’m not sure if he could even name them! He wont listen to them… I couldn’t make him if I wanted to! Its just WAYYYYY OLD to him and his kind, lol! Think about it, when I was turned on the the Beatles in the mid 90s and the Anthology hit in 97-98… it was only 20-25 years since the break up in 69-70… hell John had only been gone for 12 years when I first really got into the Beatles before the anthology! But Now its been 53 years since they first came to America! TIME MARCHES ON… There has not been any big Beatles thing out in this generation, like the anthology was for mine… and there probably wont be anymore! I mean, if you are a kid 100 years from now that likes music and is really getting into it and you’ll play in a band, write music and so on… yeah, you’ll probably like the Beatles… know about them, study them and so on… but day to day people… wont know wont care! it’ll be like Hank Sr. or worse… I mean when classic rock stations NOW play Nirvana… it will eventually get to a point (however sad that is to think about) where the Beatles wont make the cut! Hell… they already don’t play Love Me Do or I Saw Her Standing There… because its almost so dated compared to Pepper or after! SAD…….. this kind of shit freaks me out… cause if the Beatles wont be know… I SURE AS HELL WONT BE… and one day, we’ll all be like our great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents… NOTHING! No one will think of us, no pictures… CRAZY! I’ll still be loving the Beatles then tho!
The Beatles popularity waxes and wanes but as the most artistically significant and commercially successful act of all time, their music will always be there in the cultural either. New generations will discover them, and rightly so. They’re great.
Maybe more people are just searching on Bing instead? lol nah..
Google has removed videos containing beatles music and the record company only releases some of their music on youtube. It has become hard to find beatles music without paying on google. Not a fair assessment.
Also, The Beatles portfolio has only recently been available on Spotify – so I’d bet that would account for a large part of the dramatic shift, which is not considered here.
Hmmmm…I don’t buy the interpretation of the statistics. First, at the graph above shows, the latest search numbers for the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and McCartney are roughly congruent. Second, the Beatles and Apple Corps do a good job of releasing and publicizing new releases, albums, music on Spotify, etc. There’s less need to do google searches. And it’s true that you can’t find a lot of music on Youtube.
As a devoted fan, I don’t google “The Beatles” or even McCartney as much as I did, say, ten years ago because I know where to go, and/or I have everything I need showing up in my various feeds.
The re-released Sgt. Pepper hit #1 on Billboard this past summer, or #3, depending on whether you calculate in sales through streams or not. That’s pretty damn good for a band that hasn’t been together since 1970.
Some fair points, but the Rolling Stones profile is not quite ‘congruent’ with the Beatles. The Beatles are experiencing a relative nosedive in comparison. Of course a lot of factors in play here as you noted, including that the RS are a touring band, with the members still alive, etc. So there’s a lot more reason to search for them. But that also plays into why the Beatles relevance may be waning.
I disagree, The Beatles may have dropped off more from their highest but if you look at the graph numbers on the left side, there isn’t a huge difference. There is more interest in Paul McCartney than there is the Rolling Stones or The Beatles. The Rolling Stones and Beatles hover between 25 and half way to the bottom and Paul hovers between 25 and 50. Whereas the article says there is “far more” interest in the Rolling Stones as compared to The Beatles when in fact the Stones lows have been equal to the Beatles and it slightly higher now but may dip again as they seem to dip fairly regularly.
There is only slightly less interest in The Beatles now, 47 years after they broke up and with two members now having passed away than there is in the still touring Rolling Stones. And there is more interest in Paul McCartney than there is in The Rolling Stones.
I’m not a data expert but I’m betting there are some serious flaws here. Someone already mentioned that many videos were removed from YouTube. As well as the fact that all of the catalog is now on Apple Music, Spotify, and (I’m assuming) other streaming services. A more interesting bit of data would be to see how their streaming stats compare to the Stones and other bands.
As most Beatles songs have been taken off YouTube over recent years nobody bothers looking there because we have vinyl CD tape downloads etc readily available. Lies damn lies and statistics? Makes a good story though.
Sure about that?
Also the best selling vinyl record of the year so far, in 2017 is Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. From your own website.
There is almost nothing on that Vevo. LOL There are only twenty uploads and mostly not the stuff people would be looking for.
How how do the numbers compare to other bands or artists on the whole.
I forgive the Beatles for the little lapse as, insert heavy sarcasm here: they have been disbanded for nearly 50 years!!!!!
The main reason they are not as popular on YouTube is the they are blocking all their music now! It is a real same shame so search results give much less info & no songs!
Their music needs to be open to YouTube like the Rolling Stones, The Who & many other groups are.
I hardly ever look up beatles on Google or youtube etc as a) I already know all I need and only need to rarely look up new info and b) I have all there music on my ipad so it makes no sense to watch it on YouTube. But with the stones I don’t know as much so I’m always asking new questions and I don’t have all there music on cds so I listen to a lot of stones on YouTube.
Would’ve been interesting to see the comparison with Queen. Apparently they’re the most streamed rock band.
I was of age when the beatles became such an ear killing nuisance. There were so many groups that were so much better than they were then, and were nowhere near as twangy. It’s hard to imagine that they would hold any fascination for music lovers much beyond 10 years of their emergence on the worldwide scene. I always regarded beatle’s fanatics as being halfwitted bobble heads.
Are you factoring in the stranglehold Apple has on Beatle videos and music?