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Study claims music was 20% of all YouTube views in 2018

When the music industry criticises YouTube for the royalties generated by music videos, it’s driven by the assumption that music drives a LOT of YouTube viewing. But that’s often just what it is: an assumption, without much hard data to back it up. With that in mind, a new study by video and music analytics firm Pex is likely to pick up plenty of readers from the industry.

Why? Because it’s an attempt to break down YouTube viewing in 2018 by category, including music. Pex’s analysis claims that music videos generated just under two trillion views on YouTube last year, representing 20% of total views on the platform. This, despite music videos only accounting for 5% of total content on YouTube. Furthermore, the average views per music video are 16.4k – the highest of any category, while also having the lowest average length (6.8 minutes).

That latter number should spark a pause for thought though: this is clearly more than just ‘music videos’ – four-minute promos – but rather music-related videos, including longer performances and other kinds of music content. But Pex’s conclusion is worth chewing over too: “Music and Entertainment are the only two categories that disproportionally deliver high returns (views) on investment (amount of content = hosting & distribution cost)” for YouTube.