Views are no longer the most important currency on YouTube: it’s been watch-time for a while now – as shown by the fact that the platform’s new minimum requirements for ‘partner’ status include 4,000 hours of watch-time in the last year, rather than a certain number of views.

So, a new study of YouTube based on view-counts isn’t quite as valuable as it may seem, although there’s still some interesting analysis of the spread of views on Google’s video service.

“The top 3% most viewed channels upload at least 20% of all videos and receive the vast majority of all views, up to nearly 90% in 2016,” claimed the study, from Mathias Bärtl at the Offenburg University of Applied Sciences.

There’s some good historical data on the music category on YouTube: “From 2006 to 2009, most channels fall into the Music category, reaching a high in 2009 when more than 20% of all created channels would upload mainly music videos,” claimed Bärtl.

However, by 2016, this had fallen to 2.2% – note, that’s of newly-created channels that year – with the ‘people & blogs’ category accounting for 73.9%.

The study also makes claims for what proportion of overall YouTube views the various categories account for: 10.9% for music in 2016, compared to 28.8% for entertainment, 15.2% for gaming, and 10.5% for people & blogs.

Music is still important to YouTube, then, but perhaps not quite as big a driver of views as rightsholders urging action over the ‘value gap’ have sometimes suggested.

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