YouTube Premium, the $11.99 subscription service that includes YouTube Music, has reached 20 million subscribers on the platform. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google announced the number during Alphabet’s quarterly earnings call Tuesday, marking the first time YouTube has disclosed subscriber numbers for its premium service. The company also revealed how much YouTube made from advertising for the first time, noting that the video service pulled in $15.15 billion in ad revenue in 2019, up 36% from $11.16 billion in 2018.
YouTube Premium was officially launched in 2018, converting users from Music Key, which launched in 2014, and YouTube Red, which started in 2015.
The newly released numbers give the first glimpse into how much money YouTube — which some analysts estimate could be valued at $300 billion if it were spun out of Google — generates for Google and Alphabet. What it doesn’t make clear is how many of those 20 million subscribers are using YouTube Music, or how many users are there for the ad-free experience and the early access to exclusive videos from popular YouTube creators that the Premium subscription also comes with.
With Alphabet committing to disclosing the ad revenue for YouTube during its quarterly disclosures, the music industry should have a clearer sense of how much ad revenue is being generated through YouTube, where music is still the most popular use case. (Although it is still unclear how much of that revenue is generated on music-based content specifically.) According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s (IFPI) Music Listening 2019 study, 77% of the online population globally between 16 and 64 use YouTube to listen to music every month.