The broad trends are usually the same for music: Vevo has around 20 of the 100 most popular channels by view-count, while Shakira, Katy Perry and Pitbull usually rank highest – although rarely higher than YouTube’s biggest star: gamer PewDiePie. The stats for July 2014 are no different in that respect, but the accompanying chart ranking channels by subscribers has give us a few thoughts.
First, the basic stats: the 100 most-viewed YouTube channels generated nearly 9.5bn views in July, with Vevo accounting for 19 of them, and Warner Music Group another two. PewDiePie topped the rankings with a startling 438.9m monthly views, with toy-unboxing channel DisneyCollector in second with 268m views.
Then it’s Shakira with 226.6m views – down 21% month-on-month – with high rankings for Enrique Iglesias (sixth with 185.2m views), Katy Perry (seventh with 175.1m) and Pitbull (ninth with 155.6m).
Browse the chart ranking YouTube channels by new subscribers in July, though, and you’ll notice that while Vevo has 15 of the top 100, music isn’t quite as evident in the upper reaches of the rankings.
Two entertainment channels – PewDiePie and The Fine Brothers’ React – added more than 1m new subscribers in July, but Shakira was only 11th with her 431k new subscribers. Enrique Iglesias was 22nd with 354k, with Ariana Grande (323k) the only other music artist making the top 30 – although EDM festival Tomorrowland’s channel was ninth, adding 454k subscribers as marketing kicked in for its next event.
Looking at the two charts, it seems that individual YouTubers and entertainment channels from MCNs seem to be doing a better job than music channels at adding new subscribers on YouTube – or at least, music isn’t punching its (considerable, by views) weight on this front.
As YouTube has tilted its discovery mechanic in favour of subscriptions over the past year, so converting viewers into subscribers has become something of a science for the MCNs.
Perhaps there’s more that music artists can learn on this front: the view counts of the big music channels may suggest they’re not being hampered too much by more-casual viewerships, but bumping up subscribers creates a more solid base for views in between big video releases.