$40 million. That’s the number news sites have been touting grandly as the detrimental financial impact YouTube has on the music industry per year. And all of them state the same recent study conducted by a couple of researchers from Fairfield University and the University of Colorado Boulder.
In 2009, Warner Bros. yanked all their content off YouTube over licensing issues. From January to October, there was no Warner Music available on YouTube. This provided the researchers a big enough sample size to measure data. And what they found was staggering.
Per the investing site the Motley Fool: “The study found that removing content from YouTube boosted sales by as much as 10,000 albums per week. The researchers are keen to point out the effect is much stronger on the most popular albums (i.e., top 10, top 25) than it is on less popular Billboard Top 200 albums. In fact, the effect is negligible on albums outside the top 50. This finding seemingly negates the notion that YouTube has a promotional effect.”
Did you read that last part? It seems YouTube doesn’t have a promotional effect on music. I bet you’re waiting for me to make some grandiose point about how Vevo is an amalgamation of Universal Music, Sony Music and Abu Dhabi Media — two of those three form the other two legs of the tripod (along with Warner) that is popular music. You expect me to point out that by putting the music on YouTube and monetizing it, they are actually recouping much of their perceived losses, right? Or that considering the data comes from 2009 — during the shift of when people were transitioning away from purchasing physical albums (they’d begun far before this, but this was certainly in the transitional period) and altering the nature in which they listened to music, YouTube is to blame for a $40 million annual vacuum that music companies otherwise wouldn’t experience?
Well, I’m just not going to do it. If YouTube is really causing these poor companies that kind of loss — if this study is as accurate as all the major newspapers are proclaiming, certainly I don’t have to say anything. Certainly the CEOs of these record labels are already racing to save their precious corporations by yanking the music back off of YouTube. $40 million a year is a TON of money — surely, any second now, all of the major music companies are going to drop YouTube. Yup, any second.
Still waiting? Yeah, me too. Hmm, this doesn’t make sense …
Save the poor music industry from YouTube’s villainous clutches — share this article with everyone you know who “steals music” on YouTube
Here are some other peppy articles about YouTube and licensing: