The music industry knows all about YouTube’s role in bringing K-Pop music to the world, from making Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ a global hit back in 2012 to the more recent success of BTS and Blackpink.
How is YouTube performing as a music service in South Korea itself, though? New data suggests that it is growing fast, and challenging the established DSPs there.
The Korea Times has the story, reporting on new data from research firm Mobile Index. It suggests that YouTube Music has grown from a 1.7% share of the South Korean music streaming market in 2019 to 19.22% by the end of 2021.
That means YouTube Music has overtaken services like Flo (with its 13.31% share according to the research) and Vibe (4.08%) and is pretty much neck-and-neck with the second biggest service, Genie (19.24%).
The biggest DSP, Melon, is still some way ahead with a 37.28% market share. However, that has fallen from nearly 50% in 2018 according to the story, which adds that YouTube Music’s monthly active users grew from around 630,000 at the start of 2021 to 1.26m by the start of December.
South Korea was the sixth largest recorded music market in 2020 according to the IFPI, and was ranked seventh for streaming, with the latter’s revenues growing 29.2% that year to $420.6m.
Within those figures, it was notable that revenue from video streams had rocketed by 202.4%, although at $40.2m that was still just 9.6% of the overall streaming pie in South Korea.
South Korea isn’t a big market for ad-supported audio streaming, as shown by the fact that Spotify launched there in February 2021 without its free tier. So, YouTube is even more unchallenged there as a free music streaming service.
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