Once Again Big Machine/Taylor Swift Lead the Way, This Time on YouTube

Our recent updated “streaming price bible” illustrates the terrible revenues from YouTube to musicians.  Using 2016 payments for a mid sized indie catalogue we estimated that YouTube pays $0.00069 to performer and label per stream.  10,145 spins to generate the revenue created by the sale of one album.

This is well below rates paid by Spotify ($0.00437) and Apple Music ($0.00735).

But the real shocker is this:   YouTube  represents 21.7% of all the catalogue streams but only 3.81% of all revenue.  But this also suggests a strategy.   With revenue at 3.81% who needs these guys right?  If labels and artists managed to pull all their tracks from YouTube the worst that would happen is we would lose a mere 3.81% of revenue.  But in exchange we could drive consumers to better paying services like iTunes an Spotify.   It’s possible this strategy could increase overall revenues.

Now comes this press release from Taylor Swift’s label Big Machine:

Big Machine Label Group will soon launch a proprietary digital video platform that gives fans direct access to content featuring the label’s superstar roster of talent.  Big Machine TV (www.BigMachineTV.com) will offer music videos and behind-the-scenes content when it goes live in February, later hosting exclusive interviews, announcements, contests and more. All of the label’s artists, including superstars Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Reba, Florida Georgia Line, Rascal Flatts and Thomas Rhett, will have individual channels on the platform that allow viewers to seamlessly search for desired content for an immersive online fan experience.

Holy shit!  Are Swift and company going after YouTube by creating their own video streaming service?   It’s too soon to know whether or not it will be successful, but this is the kind of in-your-face tactic we need to fight back against YouTube.    YouTube has been ruthless towards musicians.  They have fought fair pay for creators on every front: the courts, the congress and even proposed trade agreements.

It’s time we turn the tables on them.