Despite YouTube Music’s Relaunch, YouTube Premium Falls Out of the Top 10 Streaming Services In the U.S.

YouTube Music chief Lyor Cohen
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YouTube Music chief Lyor Cohen
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YouTube Music chief Lyor Cohen

Is YouTube Music drawing any subscribers?  Just-released data on YouTube Premium suggests a very sluggish start.

YouTube’s latest music subscription service is failing to boost YouTube Premium in any substantial way, according to recent research.  According to Parks Associates, YouTube Premium — which includes the YouTube Music premium service — is no longer ranked among the top 10 video streaming services in the U.S.

As you might expect, Netflix is topping the US-based ranking, with Amazon following in second.  YouTube Premium failed to make the top 10 ranking after placing 7th last year.

Here’s the latest ranking.

  1. Netflix
  2. Prime Video Users (Amazon Prime)
  3. Hulu (SVOD)
  4. HBO Now
  5. Starz
  6. MLB.TV
  7. Showtime
  8. CBS All Access
  9. Sling TV
  10. DIRECTV Now

These are all considered ‘OTT,’ or ‘over the top’ video subscription services, according to industry-speak.  But YouTube Premium, which is also focused on premium video, has a music video sweetener.  YouTube Music is a $9.99-a-month standalone offering, but is packaged within YouTube Premium for $11.99.

Amazon Prime also has a baked-in music subscription service, though Amazon hasn’t published music-specific breakouts.  And given Prime’s complexity, a direct comparison to YouTube Premium (and its music complement) is difficult.

Currently, YouTube Music is available across 22 countries after a splashy overhaul in May.  But we haven’t heard any hard numbers since, with YouTube keeping its initial subscriber tallies close to the chest.

That said, feedback on the updated YouTube Music remains solid.  But the broader question is whether YouTubers will pay for premium music videos, even if it introduces perks like offline listening and ad-free enjoyment.

One possibility is that YouTube Music is drawing dedicated $9.99 subscribers, with lower interest in packaged Premium accounts.  The other possibility is that interest is tepid for either configuration, and YouTube Music is failing to bump broader packaged streaming interest.

Also worth nothing: Google has recently indicated that Google Play Music will ultimately be merged into YouTube Music.  Currently, Google Play Music All Access subscribers also have access to YouTube Music’s premium tier, though the services themselves are largely separate.

Meanwhile, YouTube continues to be the subject of intense ire from the music industry, thanks to industry-low per-stream payouts.  That may have partly motivated the YouTube Music relaunch, though one criticism is that YouTube is simply using its premium tier to better defend against compensation accusations.

Just recently, YouTube claimed that it has paid more than $6 billion to music rights owners, with $1.8 billion coming in the past year alone.




2 Responses

  1. so

    YouTube has no incentive to build its music offering as long as it can hide behind its users to provide the same content for free. They’ve never explained how they got their $0.003 per stream figure. Would still love to see the math on that (which is probably 1 ad-based stream and 1 “premium” stream added together and divided by two). Except that the premium side has practically no users.

  2. Joseph Davis

    Well that’s cause youTube Prem sucks, like you can watch all their good Prem shows in like a day, youTube needs to step up and kick out a billion shows, I have a subscription now and ask myself why Everytime I try to find something to watch, it’s a joke coming from such a big company.