YouTube has 100 million paying customers, sort of

  • YouTube now has 100 million customers paying for YouTube Premium and YouTube Music.
  • The big caveat here is that the 100 million figure also includes users who are making use of a trial.
  • YouTube’s head of global music reports that 20 million members joined YouTube in the last year.

The war YouTube has been waging against adblockers has been an irritation for users trying to avoid a barrage of unskippable adverts. However, it’s a war that YouTube may just be winning.

On Thursday, the video-sharing platform announced that it now had 100 million subscribers to YouTube Music and YouTube Premium. However, that figure also includes users who are simply giving a subscription a trial run. This means that the 100 million figure could fluctuate a bit as folks reach the end of the trial.

With that caveat out of the way, 100 million paying customers is an impressive feat and it’s nothing to sniff at. Of course, YouTube didn’t just arrive at 100 million paying subscribers easily, it’s been a long hard slog.

“In 2015, we believed that there was an appetite for a YouTube experience that benefited not only our users, but the creator and artist community as well, and we announced a new subscription service alongside a brand new app, YouTube Music,” the platform’s vice president of product management, Adam Smith said in a blog.

“This offering was designed for music lovers and YouTube fans who wanted more choice in how they spent time on YouTube, allowing them to enjoy YouTube without interruptions, background play and downloads, and a full music service with the world’s largest catalog. Along the way, we learned a lot, made a few pivots (and even rebranded), expanded our offerings and plans, and made YouTube Music and Premium available in over 100 countries and regions,” he added.

The last year saw 20 million members joining YouTube according to the global head of music at YouTube, Lyor Cohen. It’s easy to see why that is. Not only does YouTube consistently add new features that improve the user experience, YouTube Music does the same.

Samples for example, let’s you scroll through music TikTok style until you find something that you fancy, it’s a great way to find new music in our experience.

Unifying the YouTube experience so that it’s consistent is part of why users are flocking to the platform says Cohen.

“Offering unparalleled value across YouTube AND YouTube Music, fans can enjoy ad-free access to both apps, and play videos in the background or download them. Plus, they get exclusive access to afterparties, where artists like Niall Horan and Jennifer Lopez engage with fans directly after their music video Premieres. YouTube Premium is the only service where social engagement, music streaming, and all video formats converge seamlessly – all without interruption,” the music head said in a blog post.

This milestone is great for YouTube but it may worry users. Given that there are now 100 million people willing to pay to remove advertising and access a music streaming service, YouTube may be emboldened to stack videos with even more advertising likely hoping that folks will get fed up and pay for a subscription.

As annoying as that tactic may be, we can’t argue with the sheer value YouTube Premium offers. Access to music is one of the highlights sure but the advert removal is worth the price of admission alone. Plus, part of your YouTube Premium subscription is divvied up between the creators you watch, so technically, you’re supporting the creators you love as well.

The question now at YouTube should be how long it will take to reach the next 100 million subscribers, we suspect that if it continues its adblock war, it may happen sooner rather than later.


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