YouTube has published its annual ‘Culture & Trends Report’ to coincide with one of the online-video industry’s biggest events, VidCon. Based on surveys in 140 countries, it’s an interesting snapshot of some of the shifting trends on YouTube, even if music isn’t a specific focus.

Among the findings: 47% of Gen-Z have “watched videos made by fans of specific content, artists, or public figures” over the last year. A useful figure charting the importance of user-generated content in 2023, although here’s an even bigger one: 82% of online 18-44 year-olds have posted video content online over the last year.

(That’s all platforms, not just YouTube. Indeed, the report specifically mentions Instagram Stories, TikTok and Snapchat alongside YouTube as examples.)

Fan culture can also be seen in the finding that 54% of people surveyed “would prefer to watch creators breaking down a major event rather than the event itself (e.g., Oscars, Grammys)”. There’s something useful here for the music industry, whether those events are awards, festivals or new music releases.

Elsewhere, the report unsurprisingly backs up YouTube’s current multi-format push, noting that 87% of people have “watched at least four content formats YouTube offers” in the last year – options in the survey included long-form videos, short-form videos, livestreams, podcasts and streaming video on TV.

YouTube’s report also hails the growth of videos using generative AI and vTubers (virtual YouTubers), claiming that 60% of people surveyed “are open to watching content from creators who use AI to generate their content”. 52% have watched a vTuber in the past year, and videos related to or using generative AI tools notched up more than 1.7bn views on YouTube in 2022.

This being YouTube’s own report, it’s all positive. For a slightly spikier take on online-video trends, we recommend this LinkedIn post from Reed Duchscher, CEO of Night, a talent agency that represents one of YouTube’s biggest stars, Jimmy ‘MrBeast’ Donaldson.

It’s a memo on the ‘State of the Creator Economy’ that addresses some of the more concerning trends.

“CPMs on YouTube across Night creators have been down ~10% year-over-year. We also see brands, including major spenders over the last few years, pulling back on direct creator deals,” warned Duchscher, while adding he is “cautiously optimistic” that spending will increase for the rest of 2023.

The memo also offers his thoughts on YouTube specifically. “Long-form views on YouTube hold way more value than short-form views on any platform. Short-form content may boost subscriber and follower counts, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to real fan loyalty,” he wrote.

Duchscher is also fairly cool on TikTok. “We believe that regulatory risk will only grow as we approach the 2024 elections,” he wrote.

“Recently, TikTok’s focus has shifted towards specific niches, leading to a decline in the influence of its first generation of stars. While there is still a massive audience and meaningful opportunities on TikTok, we believe that creators can not be overly reliant on TikTok for long term business building.”

EarPods and phone

Tools: platforms to help you reach new audiences

Tools :: Wyng

Through Music Ally’s internal marketing campaign tracking, we’ve recently discovered an interesting website by the…

Read all Tools >>

Music Ally's Head of Insight