Viberate, a company based in London and Slovenia, spends all its time tracking the popularity of artists and songs on all platforms throughout the world. After Russia invaded Ukraine, the Viberate people thought they’d dig into how this affected the exchange of music between the two countries. The results are…surprising.
It turns out that the biggest audience for Ukrainian music isn’t in Ukraine. It’s in Russia.
Looking at YouTube, 41% of all monthly views of material by Ukrainian artists come from their compatriots. Russian music fans contribute 40% of all views. With Spotify, Russian fans out-listen Ukrainian fans to Ukrainian music 26% to 7%.
Meanwhile, Russian fans spend 45% of their time watching Russian artists on YouTube. The Ukrainian share is 14%. With Spotify, the breakdown is 27% Russia and just 2% Ukrainian.
However, Russian artists have seen nearly a 20% drop in YouTube views since the war began. Ukrainian numbers are about the same. But if we look at Spotify, streams to both Russian and Ukrainian artists have doubled compared to 2021.
Ukrainians obviously have more things on their mind than YouTube and Spotify these days, with 9.5 million people–21.5% of the country’s entire population–displaced in some way or another. And when there’s war, there are inevitably boycotts. Still, as Viberate points out “music connections run deeper than politics.”