Back in September of 2021, Google said YouTube Music hit 50 million subscribers faster than it expected. A new market analysis report this week notes that YouTube Music grew 50% in a 12 month period with high interest from Gen Z.

According to Midia Research (via Variety), YouTube grew more than 50% from Q2 2020 to 2021. In fact, Google was the only Western streaming service to increase its global market share during the 12-month period under review.

There is a difference between revenue and subscribers – with ARPU deflators, such as the rise of multi-user plans and the growth of lower-spending emerging markets – but growth in monetised users represents the foundation stone of the digital service provider (DSP) streaming market.

The report said YouTube Music “particularly resonates” among younger Millennials and Gen Z (mid-to-late 1990s to early 2010s). 

Of the 523.9 million (up 26.4% YoY) music subscribers at the end of Q2 2021, 8% use YouTube Music. The highest share unsurprisingly belongs to Spotify at 31% – though that number has been steadily decreasing from 34% in Q2 2019. Apple Music follows at 15%, and Amazon and Tencent are at 13%.

9to5Google’s Take

YouTube Music’s core audience is interesting. Gen Z grew up listening to songs as videos on There’s an element of familiarity with YouTube and its Autoplay algorithm, and those who have been satisfied with video-quality tunes might be less discerning in what they’re looking for in a streaming service. 

Meanwhile, Google is moving to revamp YouTube Music’s free tier by offering background listening and making the app audio only for free users. Videos become a premium perk, and this is underway in Canada.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: