Head of YouTube Music Lyor Cohen has stated that the company pays higher royalties to artists than its competitors do. In the past, there have been many claims regarding the royalties YouTube pays to artists on the site, with many stating that the online platform doesn't pay enough. In a statement published on YouTube's official blog, Mr. Cohen indirectly dismissed those claims by stating that YouTube is now a more profitable platform for artists than any of its alternatives.
In the blog post, Mr. Cohen admitted that his initial perception of YouTube before joining the team was that royalty payments were relatively low, though he goes on to mention that this changed once he looked at the official numbers. In fact, the head of the service even confirmed that the current royalty rate is over $3 per thousand ad-supported streams in the United States, which he says is more than any of its similar competitors such as Spotify. Mr. Cohen claims that rates outside of the U.S. are the reason for the aforementioned belief being so widespread as they lower the average royalty payments in a significant manner. Regardless, he stated that YouTube's ads have generated over $1 billion for the music industry over the past 12 months. The head of the service also said that an increase in transparency in the industry was necessary and that companies such as YouTube, music labels, and publishers need to make royalty payments clearer. After all, artists should know how much they make through each service, YouTube's executive believes.
This isn't the only way the service is trying to help artists, though, as YouTube also recently adopted a new Content ID system. Thanks to this, whenever somebody uploads an artist's music, the rights holder can earn money regardless of the uploader. In fact, in 2016, 99.5 percent of all music claims were matched correctly and automatically by Content ID and, to this day, the system generated over $2 billion in profit for artists, Mr. Cohen said. Moving away from monetization, Mr. Cohen reiterated that YouTube Music and Google Play Music are merging, while also expressing his confidence in the new service being built, suggesting that its launch may not be too far away.