YouTube Music Crosses 50 Million Paid and Trial Subscribers

YouTube Music
Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

YouTube Music

YouTube Music has surpassed 50 million paying subscribers worldwide, YouTube's global head of music Lyor Cohen announced in his monthly newsletter today (Sept. 2).

The figure includes subscribers paying for the standalone YouTube Music and the bundled YouTube Premium (which includes YTM as part of a subscription), as well as users currently in free trial mode. Cohen writes that the milestone makes YouTube Music "the fastest-growing music subscription service out there."

He has a point. The figure is a significant jump from the more than 30 million total paying subscribers (and 35 million including trialers) that the service claimed last October. A July report from music research firm MIDiA named YouTube Music parent Google the fastest-growing music streamer in 2020, growing by 60%. (Google migrated all users from its Google Play service to YouTube Music in December.)

Cohen touted YouTube’s "twin engine growth" strategy combining ads and subscriptions, which he says is "fueling our goal to become the music industry’s number one driver of revenue." In June, he announced that YouTube had paid over $4 billion to the music industry in the last 12 months and added more paid members in the first quarter of 2021 than in any other quarter since launch.

Like its competitors, YouTube Music has a $9.99/month price tag, with various other options like student and family pricing. A YouTube Premium subscription, which costs $11.99/month, is for across-the-board ad-free viewing and listening on YouTube, not just music.

In his letter, Cohen also noted "impressive growth" for the service in Korea, India, Japan, Russia and Brazil. He pointed to new features like the "afterparty," which Tim McGraw used last month to host an afterparty exclusively for Premium members following the release of his "7500 OBO" music video.

"We’re in our own lane -- there's no other place where fans can get uninterrupted access to the largest and most diverse catalogue of music, artists and culture," Cohen said. "We’re making it easy for music fans to go deep and find their thing -- whether that’s on YouTube or the YouTube Music app.

Among streaming services, Spotify remains in the lead by market share, with 165 million premium subscribers as of the end of June. Apple Music and Amazon Music haven't updated their public figures recently -- the former had 60 million paying subscribers in June 2019, and the latter had 55 million across all tiers in January 2020.