Early this week, Kobalt announced an important new licensing deal for its AMRA collection society: a global agreement with YouTube covering more than 100 countries, excluding the US and Canada.

It’s the latest coup for AMRA following its first deal with Apple Music earlier this year.

But the announcement has sparked questions with its quote from YouTube music exec Christophe Muller: “We’ve generated over 2 billion dollars in revenue for the music industry in the last few years alone, and we’ve long worked with Kobalt to help creators get paid.”

A new milestone, since YouTube’s only previous public figure of this kind came in February 2014 at Midem from YouTube exec Tom Pickett: “We’ve paid out to the music industry over the last several years over a billion dollars.”

Music Business Worldwide duly used the $2bn figure to run some calculations on YouTube’s monthly music payouts, yet in a more recent story by the Telegraph, the quote has been corrected to “We’ve generated over $1bn in revenue for the music industry in the last couple of years alone”.

Whither the missing billion? Although with a closer glance, Pickett’s quote could be seen as referring to the  years leading up to 2014, while Muller’s – if taken strictly – refers to the period from late 2013 to now.

Which *could* even mean $3bn in total payouts to date – matching Spotify, albeit with many more people listening on YouTube.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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