Taylor Swift’s withdrawal from Spotify last year hogged plenty of headlines, but her rapidly-growing subscriber totals on YouTube has been more under the radar. Yet it’s well worth following, because Swift isn’t just signing up more new subscribers than her musical peers – she’s now outgrowing the biggest star of all on YouTube: gamer PewDiePie.
According to the latest monthly 100 Most Subscribed YouTube Channels chart published by industry site Tubefilter based on data from analytics firm OpenSlate, Swift’s Vevo channel added just under 725k new subscribers in February this year, ahead of PewDiePie’s 705k and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’s 623k.
Swift ended the month with just under 12 million subscribers on YouTube, which is providing a strong base for any new video she puts out. It’s also helping her growth in video views: 363.9m in February, which again beat PewDiePie’s 299.1m. If it seems strange that we’re mentioning him so much, it’s because the gamer has been unassailable at the top of these charts for a long time. Swift dethroning him is a notable event.
Her core audience of 12 million subscribers is worth thinking about in comparison to Facebook, which has ambitions to rival YouTube in the video space. Swift has 70.3m Likes on Facebook, although she doesn’t (yet) upload music videos directly to the social network. Instead, she posts shorter, more personal clips – cats, happy birthday messages, etc – a recent in-car singathon clip with Haim has been watched more than 2.3m times so far.
We’re intrigued to watch how stars like Swift and their teams use YouTube and Facebook for videos in the coming months, given the audiences available. Swift already has a second YouTube channel, non Vevo branded, for more personal clips and promotional videos – a strategy also adopted by Beyoncé. For now, her official music videos are posted on Facebook as YouTube links, but we wonder how that strategy might evolve too.