It’s quarterly earnings time, and amid growing concerns about the online advertising economy, the financial results from the biggest tech companies will be pored over even more intensely then usual for signs of a slump. Witness YouTube’s parent company Alphabet’s Q2 numbers yesterday.
Overall, Alphabet’s revenues grew by 12.6% year-on-year to $69.69bn, and within that YouTube’s advertising revenues increased by 4.8% to $7.34bn. Still a growing business, then – and remember that figure does not include premium subscriptions. But as Variety pointed out, the 4.8% growth for YouTube missed analyst predictions (of 7%) and represented its slowest increase in more than two years.
There’s a caveat here: the Covid-assisted challenges of 2020 followed by a sharp bounce-back in 2021 makes year-on-year comparisons less useful than usual. However, the sight of Alphabet’s chief financial officer Ruth Porat telling analysts about a “pullback in spend by some advertisers” last quarter may not quell the concerns about a brand-spending slump.
There were no new figures for YouTube’s music business (e.g. subscribers) in the financials or earnings call. Indeed, music wasn’t mentioned once in that call. However, in separate news YouTube did make its latest music announcement yesterday: the 2022 class for its Foundry emerging artists incubator.
30 artists have been chosen for this year’s cohort for a scheme that includes Dua Lipa, Dave, Clairo, Arlo Parks, Rosalía, Beabadoobee and Rina Sawayama among its past alumni. You can see the list of this year’s participants here: a useful sign of the independent artists that YouTube thinks are worth seed funding and development.