Video and music search engine Pex has weighed in to the value-gap debate, with new data based on its indexing of more than 6.1bn videos and songs on YouTube and other platforms.

The aim of its latest study was to understand how big music *really* is as a category on YouTube, with Pex having counted 330.7m videos uploaded with ‘Music’ as their category, generating 4.6tn (trillion) views and taking a just-under 27.5% share of overall traffic on YouTube.

However, Pex makes a separate claim: that “more than 84% of videos contain at least 10 seconds of music”. Be wary of wielding this particular stat in the debate over YouTube royalties: there isn’t any more granular data on how much of this music is copyrighted versus user-generated (or sourced from royalty-free providers).

But another point made by Pex – that the average duration of a YouTube video is now closing in on 15 minutes – is a reminder of another industry debate: over why four-minute music videos don’t get more advertising served against them.

Billboard has been exploring exactly this point: “only between 35 percent and 45 percent of music video streams in the United States carry ads, down from 60 percent in 2012” it claimed, based on interviews with US labels and managers.

YouTube has pushed back strongly against the claims, saying the analysis “lacks data science and credibility” and saying “we are not seeing any meaningful difference in the percentage of views with ads for music content, year over year” (which, as you may have noticed, is a different period of time to Billboard’s focus of 2012 to now).

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