With the rise of reality television shows and popular scripted programming, former music television networks like MTV, BET, and VH1 have all but let their music video roots fall to the wayside. The majority of programming on those channels is dedicated to anything but music. While people can always purchase their favorite artist’s CD or download a few songs from iTunes, there is no longer a dedicated forum in which they can watch their favorite music videos on the tube. With the popularity of YouTube and its massive library of music videos old and new, the company has moved into the forefront of what used to be a very lucrative television production.
Working with legitimate video distributors like Vevo, YouTube has become the place where the younger generation listens to music. A recent Nielsen Music 360 study showed that 64 percent of teens listen to their music through YouTube, while 56 percent listen to music on the radio, 53 percent use iTunes and 50 percent use CDs. What is interesting to note is that given all the advances in technology and the increase in digital downloads, radio and CDs are still near or at the top when looking at both age groups. And while the attention is paid to teen YouTube consumption, YouTube still ranks third among all other mediums for those above the age of 18.
64 percent is a huge number and thanks to page views and royalties, musicians and their recording labels couldn’t be happier. YouTube and Vevo split all ad revenue. With so many people using YouTube as their go-to music player and with most Vevo videos using pre-roll ads, these stats are great.
“The accessibility of music has seen tremendous expansion and diversification,” Nielsen’s senior vice president of client development David Bakula said in a statement. “While younger listeners opt for technologically advanced methods, traditional methods of discovery like radio and word-of-mouth continue to be strong drivers.”
So as these teens becomes adults, they will most likely continue their viewing habits, slowly edging out radio as the primary source for discovering music. YouTube will become the driving force for record labels and the undiscovered artist. And as the car industry continues to integrate the internet into their vehicles, YouTube could see an even bigger push in the near future.