YouTube said it has paid more than $6 billion to the music industry between July 2021 and June 2022, representing a $2 billion increase from the $4 billion in payments the company announced last year.
User-generated content accounted for 30 percent of the payouts to artists, songwriters and rights holders, the company said.
“I could not be more proud about YouTube’s progress in driving revenue back to the music industry,” Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music, said in a statement. “We remain laser focused on becoming the number one contributor of revenue for the industry while also building a connected music experience across all music formats for fans and artists that allows for discovery, consumption and participation.”
In a separate blog post shared on Tuesday, Cohen said he wanted a combination of ads and subscriptions to be the “#1 contributor of revenue to the industry by 2025” and pointed to YouTube’s efforts to monetize across formats, including short-form and live videos.
YouTube’s ad business, coming off record growth during the earlier years of the pandemic, brought in $7.3 billion in revenue during the second quarter. Last year, YouTube said it had surpassed 50 million YouTube Music subscribers, including both free and paying users.
As the company grows its music business, YouTube is also seeking to amend its relationships with artists and rights holders. In August, YouTube — along with Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify — reached an agreement with top music publishers to incrementally increase royalty rates to 15.35 percent over the next five years. The agreement helped avoid a repeat of the drawn-out legal battle between streamers like Spotify and YouTube and the music rights holders, who fought over royalty rates during the 2018–2022 period.