Momentum has continued to gather behind online video in the last five years, with music being the category that’s experiencing the biggest growth — though that doesn’t necessarily mean the industry will reap any additional revenue in the immediate future.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 50% of all online adults watched music videos in 2013, up from 32% in 2009. It was the biggest jump in viewership for all the categories tracked by Pew.
Much of the love comes from younger demographics. Among viewers ages 18-29, 81% watch music videos, but only 39% of viewers ages 50 or older do so.
Though popular, music is only the fourth-most-popular video category among adults — after comedy, how-to clips and educational videos. Music is, however, more popular than news, animation, politics and sports. It’s important to note that the study only surveyed Internet users ages 18 and older. Had it included younger viewers, music very well could have ended up with a higher rank, given that the category skews toward younger demographics.
The growth in music mirrors the percentage of online Americans who watch video, which grew to 78% this year, up from 69% in 2009. Younger viewers ages 18-29 led the audience, with 95% having watched online videos in 2013, compared with only 58% of those ages 50 or older.
But the growth in video uploading and sharing is not just on YouTube. The debut this year of Vine from Twitter (in January) and Instagram Video from Facebook (in June) has undoubtedly accelerated this trend.
These new video platforms don’t license music. This is true of Vine and Instagram, which currently rely on take-down notices and/or fair use provisions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for the use of copyrighted music in user-generated videos. Outside of YouTube, only a handful of video apps, including Magisto and Viddy, have licensing arrangements.
Not only is viewership rising, but so are the number of people who post videos. Nearly one-third of adults online (about 31%) posted a video this year, up from 14% in 2009. Again, younger people led the way with 41% having posted their own video, compared with 18% of those 50 or older.
The results are a steep increase in the amount of content being added to platforms like YouTube, where the number of hours of uploaded video exploded from 20 hours per minute in 2009 to more than 100 hours a minute this year. YouTube as a platform has increased the number of advertising in and around the videos on its service and has licensing agreements with most sizable music rights holders.