YouTube as a music platform: Unfair or misunderstood?


In the music industry, YouTube has notoriously been known as a harsh competitor of music distribution companies, and the artists themselves. It is an accepted belief that this free video streaming platform has reduced album sales and given people less of an incentive to actually purchase music. People have painted Youtube as a greedy middleman that takes content it had no part in generating and making money by distributing it. We are quick to form this one-sided opinion about the user-generated video platform, but if we take a step back, we may see that YouTube can be a surprisingly beneficial resource for artists and distributing companies if marketing is used efficiently. 

youtube can be a crucial revenue generator

Believe, a French-born digital distribution company, argues that YouTube is vital to generating and promoting music sales. According to an article from Music Business Worldwide, the company has employed 50 people worldwide to build technology that finds and monetizes videos featuring music within Believe’s category. Believe’s owner, Denis Ladegaillerie, says to MBW that “there is no other payout which is significant anywhere other than YouTube for video assets.” This is proof that Youtube–if marketing is used efficiently– can actually generate revenue for music distributing companies, instead of stealing money away from them, like many might be quick to think.

how can local artists utilize youtube marketing?

Many artists already utilize YouTube by posting to the site live shows and official music videos that can broaden their fan base. More online traction will naturally lead to a revenue increase, whether it’s from the streaming of their music from a paid service such as Spotify, or buying tickets to their next show.

There is also a fairly new feature on YouTube called YouTube for Artists, which uses data to help artists track where their fan base is. This resource helps artists see 1.) where most of their fans are coming from,  and  2.) the most popular times that their videos are being watched. This could be particularly useful for local artists to see if they are reaching strictly an Austin crowd, or if their music is diffusing to surrounding areas. Knowing these kinds of analytics is crucial for any artist to know who and where to market their music to.

It’s obvious that YouTube sells. Instead of demeaning them for stealing music or being a shady middleman between the artist and the public, we can take advantage of its huge marketing ability and continue to either upload or monitor user-generated content to draw in more fans. The beauty of modern-day technology and video sharing is at our fingertips!

(Photo Courtesy of Retention Panel)