Music Industry

YouTube OWNS Music Online. But Is That Coming to an End?

Put all the streaming music services together and you still only have tiny fraction of the reach YouTube has when it comes to the online music world. Many say their position in this space is unassailable. Or is it? takes a look.

For many years now, YouTube has been in a power position when it came to dealing with artists. After all, it’s one of the most popular sites on the web and easily the biggest music destination, dwarfing any other platform as a means of consuming music on demand. A few artists here and there try to fight it (Prince comes to mind) and every so often the industry fires shots (as Cary Sherman, the head of the RIAA did last week, complaining about low payouts), but generally the music business knows that pulling songs and videos off YouTube is a losing proposition overall.

No other site offers as much music as YouTube, and much of it is live footage and bootleg content — stuff that fans, until recently, couldn’t find anywhere else. YouTube also offers the stickiness of video and the ability to engage two senses if you want, while also letting users click to another tab and just let music run in the background.

But there are signs YouTube’s domination in music might finally be coming to an end. Other streaming sites are starting to engage with video, and given Spotify’s recent massive raise, it’s fairly likely they’ll spend at least some of that cool billion beefing up video offerings. Plus, with SoundCloud’s launch of its long-awaited streaming service Go and Apple Music’s deal with Dubset to license mixes, YouTube’s ownership of the UGC and unofficial content space might finally be disrupted.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38413 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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