Music Streaming Starts Climbing Out of the YouTube Hole

For a long time, music streaming services have had to struggle under the shadow of YouTube, that semi-legal amalgam of “music.” Fed by user uploads, with “videos” that are often just CD rips with a still photo, YouTube was, for several years, the destination of choice for streamers.

That’s finally changed. According to a mid-year report from BuzzAngle, a music analytics firm, streams from music streaming services exceeded those from YouTube and other video sites. There were 114 billion music streams, compared to 95 billion video streams. This shows that Apple Music and Spotify are finally winning over users, and the number of music streams for the first half of the year has more than doubled, while video streams increased more than 23%.

The main reason people go to YouTube to stream music is because it’s free and includes music unavailable elsewhere. Its interface is not designed for streaming music, though, and users are starting to understand that there are better ways, just as they grew out of Napster and Limewire.

This trend will certainly continue, at least if streaming services can persuade new users to pay a monthly tithe to the music industry. A price drop would greatly increase the power of Spotify and Apple Music, to the detriment of YouTube, whose interface simply doesn’t work for pure music streaming.