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YouTube CEO hails growth but keeps up pressure on Article 13


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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has published her latest update on growth and trends for the video service, including some milestones from 2018. “The channels with over one million subscribers nearly doubled in the last year, and the number of creators earning five or six figures in the last year grew more than 40%,” wrote Wojcicki, in a post that noted YouTube Music’s expansion from five countries at the start of 2018 to 29 by the end of the year.

While there was no update on YouTube’s overall audience, google CEO Sundar Pichai hinted at a big milestone that’s about to be crossed, when he spoke to analysts earlier this week. “YouTube continues to invest in its thriving community of creators and build great features for its nearly two billion monthly logged-in users,” said Pichai. The last official stat for YouTube was 1.9 billion logged-in monthly users, announced in July 2018.

Back to legislative matters, though, and Wojcicki used her post to keep up the pressure over Article 13 in Europe, with European policymakers reaching a crucial stage in determining how strongly (or weakly) the EU’s new copyright directive will clamp down on safe harbours for UGC platforms like YouTube.

“You’ve proven to be an influential voice in the debate. Your videos were viewed hundreds of millions of times and a near-record 4.6 million people signed the petition at Change.org,” wrote Wojcicki, addressing the YouTubers who have responded to YouTube’s call for them to protest against the previous drafts of Article 13.

“That awareness you created was critical, since it was clear to me last year when meeting with policymakers in Strasbourg that many of them had heard from large companies, but lacked an understanding of the European creator economy’s impact and size. I shared with legislators the huge economic benefit you all bring to your home countries,” she continued. “The debate around Article 13 remains ongoing. This could be decided in the next few weeks, so please keep speaking out on this critical issue for all YouTube creators.”

As we reported in our recent 2019 Challenges report, music-industry bodies had been confident last year that Article 13 was going their way. At the start of 2019, the situation looks much less assured. Whatever way the final draft tips, expect anger and controversy – whether it comes from rightsholders or YouTubers.

Stuart Dredge

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