HERE IS SOMETHING YOU DON'T LEARN EVERYDAY. Having music on YouTube actually prevents piracy, according to research from Google which owns YouTube and is a company that is often accused of aiding and abetting piracy.
Google has a report on this whole thing, and it got something called RBB Economics to do it. RBB Economics took on a lot of data and came up with the headline news. Simon Morrison, who is a public policy manager at Google, brings the news to us and to anyone who has ever wondered whether watching Miley Cyrus videos on YouTube is a bad thing.
"In 2016 YouTube paid out over 1 billion USD to the music industry from ad revenue alone; and our Content ID allows the music industry to control their content on the platform, including the ability to make money from fan-uploaded music content," said Morrison.
"Nonetheless, there is a lively debate about whether YouTube is good or bad for the music industry overall. To get to the bottom of this question, and to better understand the way the industry has changed in the digital age, we commissioned a study from RBB Economics.
The study had access to exclusive YouTube data, naturally, and a survey of 6,000 of its one billion active monthly users. So plenty to go on there then. Anyway, the first paper looks at cannibalisation, and whether or not YouTube viewing cuts into record buying. In fact YouTube makes a positive difference, just by existing.
"Does the fact that people listen to music on YouTube mean that they don't use other—sometimes more lucrative—sources of music?," pondered Morrison pointlessly in his blogpost.
"The study finds that this is not the case. In fact, if YouTube didn't exist, 85 per cent of time spent on YouTube would move to lower value channels, and would result in a significant increase in piracy."
Lower value channels including radio, television, piracy, and just not listening to music. RBB (PDF) found that in the absence of YouTube 29 per cent of people who would usually watch pop videos would turn to piracy options.
"In the absence of YouTube, time spent listening to pirated content would increase by 29 per cent, suggesting that people are going to YouTube instead of pirating music," says the PDF conclusively. "And further, blocking music from YouTube does not lead to an increase in streams on other platforms." µ
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