Music business

YouTube Music surpasses 50 million subscribers

MBW’s Stat Of The Week is a series in which we highlight a data point that deserves the attention of the global music industry. Stat Of the Week is supported by Music Group Fivea technology-driven record label, distribution and rights management company.


Beware of Spotify.

Last June, YouTube’s global head of music, Lyor Cohen, suggested that YouTube Music was the “fastest growing subscription service”.

Today, he doubled down on that claim, via the announcement that YouTube has passed the milestone of 50 million YouTube Music and Premium subscribers, including trialists. (YouTube Music is available as a standalone subscription platform or integrated into a YouTube Premium subscription.)

The last publicly announced subscriber figure for YouTube Music came in October 2020, when Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai revealed that YouTube had “over 30 million” YouTube Music and/or YouTube Premium subscriptions.

This means that YouTube Music has grown its subscriber base by around 20 million over the past 11 months, or in other words, it’s added around 1.8 million subscribers per month since October 2020.

Rival Spotify revealed in July that its global Premium subscriber base grew to 165 million in the second quarter of 2021 (ended June 30), which was up 20% year-over-year and 4%, or 7 million subscribers, out of the 158 million that SPOT counted at the end of the previous quarter (Q1 2021).

Apple Music, meanwhile, announced that it surpassed 60 million subscribers in June 2019, but has not confirmed an updated subscriber count since then.

Cohen revealed the 50 million milestone in his industry newsletter today (September 2), in which he noted that YouTube Music is “seeing impressive growth in countries like South Korea, India, Japan , Russia and Brazil”.

He also said YouTube is “investing in new features and exclusive benefits for our members.”

“We’re not going to let off the accelerator anytime soon.”

Lyor Cohen, YouTube

Says Cohen: “We have flagship products in YouTube Music and YouTube Premium that offer truly unique value for artists and creators and the best experience for music fans and video enthusiasts. We’re on our own path.

“There is no other place where fans can have uninterrupted access to the largest and most diverse catalog of music, artists and culture. We’re making it easy for music fans to dig deeper and find their stuff, whether it’s on YouTube or the YouTube Music app.”

He added: “We are not going to release the accelerator anytime soon. Thank you for coming on this journey with us.


Commenting on YouTube Music’s new milestone, Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, said: “Our groundbreaking agreement over three years ago with YouTube laid the foundation for their subscription commitment. which led to the launch of YouTube Music.

“Today, this approach has been more than validated since their service has passed the milestone of 50 million subscribers.

“Congratulations to Susan Wojcicki and her team for this significant achievement.”

“Congratulations to Susan Wojcicki and her team for this significant achievement.”

Sir Lucian Grainge

Max Lousada, CEO, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group, said, “We live in a highly visual attention economy, and YouTube has led the way when it comes to UGC and fan expression. Music has always been a central part of their platform, so it’s great to see them becoming a dynamic force in subscription streaming as well.

“Music has always been a central part of their platform, so it’s great to see them becoming a dynamic force in subscription streaming as well.”

Max Lousada, CEO, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group

“We look forward to collaborating on many more creative campaigns that amplify our artists and spark cultural moments all over the world. Congratulations to Susan, Robert, Lyor and the entire YouTube team.”

“Congratulations to YouTube for reaching this milestone.”

Lenzo Yoon, HYBE America

Lenzo Yoon, CEO of HYBE America, said, “Congratulations to YouTube for reaching this milestone. YouTube has enabled our artists to reach global audiences and connect with their fans, especially in the midst of the global pandemic.

“We are grateful and excited for the opportunities YouTube provides for the music industry, and look forward to continuing to work with YouTube to enable our artists to reach more audiences around the world with their music and engage and connect with their fans around the world.”

“With YouTube Music as our partner, we’ve been able to amplify our customers’ voices and share their art with the world.”

Michael McDonald, Mick Management

Michael McDonald of Mick Management said, “With YouTube Music as our partner, we’ve been able to amplify our customers’ voices and share their art with the world.

“Leveraging their commitment and resources has really helped get things done.”

You can read the full email from Lyor Cohen below:


You’ve heard me say it time and time again: YouTube’s dual engine growth of ads and subscriptions fuels our goal of becoming the music industry’s number one revenue driver. We recently announced that YouTube has donated $4 billion to the music industry over the past 12 months.

Today, I’m excited to announce another milestone for our subscription business: YouTube has surpassed 50 million Music and Premium subscribers, including trials, and is the fastest growing music subscription service (MIDA).

We couldn’t have reached this milestone without you, and we’re excited to continue to grow and grow our best subscription service together.

So how did we get here and where are we going?

We have flagship products in YouTube Music and YouTube Premium that provide truly unique value for artists and creators and the best experience for music fans and video enthusiasts. We are on our own way. There’s no other place where fans can have uninterrupted access to the largest and most diverse catalog of music, artists and culture. We make it easy for music fans to dig deeper and find their stuff, whether it’s on YouTube or the YouTube Music app.

When small mixture released the music video for “Confetti” with Saweetie, fans around the world were able to watch the premiere of the new visual together for the first time. But the fan experience and engagement with the new release of Little Mix didn’t stop there. The fans were able learn the lyrics, witness their amazing live voicewatch behind the scenesand listen to the band’s back catalog.The band even released a VEVO footnotes who broke down particular looks in the video, the makeup and prosthetic process, and the inspiration behind the band’s routines. No other platform facilitates this level of depth and exploration for music fans.

The nearly endless “choose your own adventures” are made possible by the artists and fans who come together every day on YouTube and YouTube Music to watch, create, share, comment on, cover and remix music content on the platform. . .

This unlimited exploration is further enhanced by YouTube Premium. Members get uninterrupted, ad-free access to all content on YouTube and YouTube Music so they can better connect with artists and creators and immerse themselves deeper in all the content they love – whether it would be music, learning, fashionor fortnite.

YouTube Music and Premium’s unique offerings resonate with both established music markets and emerging markets. We are seeing impressive growth in countries like South Korea, India, Japan, Russia and Brazil, where music is a major passion.

We are also investing in new features and exclusive benefits for our members. For example, Tim McGraw hosted an afterparty exclusively for Premium members immediately after the release of its new music video. Intimate fan experiences like these are a win-win for artists and Premium members alike, so expect to see a lot more in the future.

We are not going to release the accelerator anytime soon. Thank you for coming on this journey with us.

With love and respect,

Lyor Cohen


Today’s news comes months after YouTube revealed (in June) that it had paid the music industry $4 billion over the past 12 months through the “twin engines” of advertising revenue and subscriptions.

Cohen said at the time that the platform’s goal was “to become the premier revenue generator for the music industry,” a goal he repeated in his letter today, writing that, “You’ve heard me say it many times: YouTube’s dual engine of advertising and subscription growth is fueling our goal to become the music industry’s #1 revenue driver.”

That would mean exceeding Spotify’s annual royalty payments, which in 2020 surpassed $5 billion.The music industry around the world