YouTube Music surpasses 50 million subscribers

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


Watch out Spotify.

Back in June, YouTube‘s Global Head of Music, Lyor Cohen, suggested that YouTube Music was the “fastest growing subscription service out there”.

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

The last subscriber figure to be publicly announced 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 subs.

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

Rival Spotify revealed in July that its global Premium Subscriber base grew to 165 million in Q2 2021 (ended June 30), which was up 20% year-on-year, and up by 4%, or 7 million subscribers, on the 158m that SPOT counted at the end of the prior quarter (Q1 2021).

Apple Music, meanwhile, announced it had surpassed 60m subscribers in June 2019, but hasn’t confirmed an updated subs number since then.

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

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

“We’re not taking our foot off the gas anytime soon.”

Lyor Cohen, YouTube

Said Cohen: “We’ve got killer products in YouTube Music and YouTube Premium that deliver truly unique value to artists and creators and the best experience for music fans and video lovers. We’re in our own lane.

“There’s no other place where fans can get uninterrupted access to the largest and most diverse catalog of music, artists, and culture. We’re making it easy for music fans to go deep and find their thing – whether that’s on YouTube or the YouTube Music app.”

He added: “We’re not taking our foot off the gas anytime soon. Thanks for coming along on this ride with us.”


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

“Today, that approach was more than validated as their service passed the 50 million subscriber milestone.

“Congratulations to Susan Wojcicki and her team for this important accomplishment.”

“Congratulations to Susan Wojcicki and her team for this important accomplishment.”

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 in UGC and fan expression. Music has always been a pivotal part of their platform, so it’s great to see them become a dynamic force in subscription streaming too.

“Music has always been a pivotal part of their platform, so it’s great to see them become a dynamic force in subscription streaming too.”

Max Lousada, CEO, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group

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

“Congratulations to YouTube on achieving this milestone.”

 Lenzo Yoon, HYBE America

Lenzo Yoon, CEO of HYBE America, said: “Congratulations to YouTube on achieving this milestone. YouTube has enabled our artists to reach global audiences and connect with their fans, especially amidst the global pandemic.

“We are thankful and excited about the opportunities YouTube brings to the music industry, and hope to continue to work with YouTube in enabling our artists to reach more audiences around the world with their music and to engage and connect with their fans globally.”

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

Michael McDonald, Mick Management

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

“Harnessing their commitment and resources has really helped move the needle.”

You can read Lyor Cohen’s email in full below:


You’ve heard me say it many times: YouTube’s twin-engine growth across ads and subscriptions is fueling our goal to become the music industry’s No.1 driver of revenue. We recently announced that YouTube has paid out $4 billion to the music industry in 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 trialers, and is the fastest growing music subscription service out there (MIDiA). 

We couldn’t have reached this milestone without you, and we’re thrilled to continue building and growing our best-in-class subscription service together.

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

We’ve got killer products in YouTube Music and YouTube Premium that deliver truly unique value to artists and creators and the best experience for music fans and video lovers. We’re in our own lane. There’s no other place where fans can get uninterrupted access to the largest and most diverse catalog of music, artists, and culture. We’re making it easy for music fans to go deep and find their thing – whether that’s on YouTube or the YouTube Music app.

When Little Mix released the music video for “Confetti” with Saweetie, fans from all over the world were able to watch the new visual’s Premiere all together for the first time. But the fan experience and engagement with Little Mix’s new release didn’t stop there. Fans were able to learn the lyrics, witness their incredible live vocals, look behind the scenes of the music video, and listen to the band’s back catalogue.The group even released a VEVO footnotes that broke down particular looks in the video, the make up and prosthetics process and the inspiration behind the band’s routines. No other platform facilitates this level of depth and exploration for music fans.

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

This limitless 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 more deeply immerse in all the content they love – be that musiclearningfashion, or Fortnite.

The unique offerings of YouTube Music and Premium are resonating in established and emerging music markets alike. We’re seeing impressive growth in countries like South Korea, India, Japan, Russia, and Brazil where music is a top passion.

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

We’re not taking our foot off the gas anytime soon. Thanks for coming along on this ride with us.

With love and respect,

Lyor Cohen


Today’s news comes a couple of months after YouTube revealed (in June) that it paid the music industry over $4 billion in the previous 12 months via the “twin engines” of advertising and subscription revenue.

Cohen stated at the time that the platform’s aim is “to become the leading revenue generator for the music industry”, an objective he repeated in his letter today, writing that, “You’ve heard me say it many times: YouTube’s twin-engine growth across ads and subscriptions is fueling our goal to become the music industry’s No.1 driver of revenue”.

That would mean overtaking Spotify’s annual royalty payments, which in 2020 surpassed $5 billion.Music Business Worldwide

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