Don’t let those stories of YouTubers making millions of dollars from the advertisements on their videos fool you into thinking YouTube streaming is a lucrative business, because it’s not. Even a few hundred thousand dollars is a lot for average content creators, but for large companies, YouTube simply doesn’t offer the big numbers their looking for. In fact, many music labels actually make more money from selling vinyl records than streaming on YouTube.
The boss of British music industry body the BPI has claimed UK labels make less money from YouTube than from vinyl sales. Speaking at the Music Futures conference in Gateshead, Geoff Taylor said vinyl revenues were worth more than the “14bn music streams on YouTube” in 2014. Although he did not give a specific figure, last year the BPI said that in 2013, British labels’ income from sales of vinyl albums was £12.1m. In 2014, more than 1.3m vinyl albums were sold in the UK, but the BPI has not published a figure for how much income that meant for labels. In response to Taylor’s comments, a YouTube spokesperson said: “Music videos on YouTube can be discovered by over 1 billion people in over 80 countries. To date, we’ve paid out $3bn to the music industry – and that number is growing year on year.” The company also cited its YouTube for Artists site that provides musicians with analytics and advice on building their audiences. YouTube has also just launched a standalone YouTube Music app in the US, which ties into its new YouTube Red $9.99-a-month subscription service.