YouTube Music Has Over 50 Million Paid Subscribers

Posted on September 2, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in YouTube Music with 17 Comments

Multiple reports state that Google’s YouTube Music service now has over 50 million paid subscribers, thanks to major growth over the past year. In October 2020, Google reported that the service had 30 million paid subscribers.

“I’ve seen this industry evolve from an audio business to an audiovisual business and, now, as my friend Chuck D puts it, to a visual-audio business,” YouTube Music’s Lyor Cohen said in June. “As a visual-audio platform, our goal is to become the leading revenue generator for the music industry.”

By comparison, Spotify reported that it reached 165 million subscribers by mid-2020. Apple Music has 78 million paid subscribers, and Amazon Music has 63 million subscribers.

Google has not acknowledged the milestone, and it appears that the 50 million figure includes both YouTube Music and YouTube Premium subscribers. But as a paid YouTube Music subscriber, I’ve never understood the complaints others have leveled against the service in the wake of Google’s decision to replace Google Play Music. I use YouTube Music because it offers unique value and better functionality when compared to market leaders like Spotify. Key among them is the ability to add audio versions of the many millions of YouTube music videos to YouTube Music libraries and playlists.

Overall, YouTube generated $7 billion in revenues in the most recent quarter, though much of that was advertising-related.

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Comments (17)

17 responses to “YouTube Music Has Over 50 Million Paid Subscribers”

  1. simont

    The only reason I have YouTube Music is that is included in YouTube Premium. I almost never open the app.

    • akcanuck

      Me too. I also got in at the beginning of Google Play Music so I the $7.99 a month deal. I liked Google Play Music and used it exclusively. YouTube Music is terrible.

      • demodulated

        This is my experience as well. Google Play Music was one of the best services to ever grace the internet. YouTube Music has an awful interface and removed many sorting and filtering options I'd relied on for years. The only reason I stay subscribed is for YouTube Premium so that I can support video creators without having to watch ads.

        • robinwilson16

          I feel the same way.

          Very basic functionality is missing such as the ability to delete all uploaded songs. It forces me to delete them one by one. It also doesn't integrate well with Sonos like Google Play Music did, at least not without paying.

          It's not worth paying if all I want to do is play my own music I already imported.

    • Paul Thurrott

      I literally use YouTube Music every day and love it.

      • mikeharris123

        You are all crazy, it feels like a terrible experience every time I open it, which is usually in error.

        Clearly it must work for some, but I agree with those who have said I pay for YouTube premium family plan and the YM is a freebee.

        I moved onto Tidal lossless plan and while it is too expensive it is good to use, and the closest thing to GPM since that service shut down.

      • IanYates82

        Yep. For me I got a family plan which has YT music and YT premium. Keeps wife happy with music, and kids happier with YouTube, and I occasionally benefit from both.

        We have lots of google speakers and chromecast devices so using the Google service on a family plan was a no brainier

        I'd LOVE to see some kind of xbox game pass family plan....

      • bluvg

        I use it daily also and like it (YT has content found nowhere else), but find the interface pretty clunky. Uploaded music is treated second-class, no genre support, single-level filtering, etc.

    • ianbetteridge

      It's worth a try. I prefer it to both Spotify and Apple Music.

  2. chriscarstens

    YouTube premium is such an amazing value — my wife and I, both in our seventies, enjoy art, music, sports and history without ads every night. The music thing it a throw in for us.

    • mp3god


      We watch a lot of youtube and the music service is like a really good gravy. I just wish I could connect it to my Amazon ecosystem like any other music service. The way we work around it is by accessing youtube on an echo show and then playing what we want that way. It's not perfect but it gets the job done.

    • bluvg

      You're so right. I still marvel at YT. Coming from the era of 3 networks + PBS, the amount of good content--searchable, watchable instantly--is absolutely mind-blowing to me. Granted, there's junk too, but you can dig deep on anything.

  3. mp3god

    One big plus about Youtube music is its integration with the YouTube video site that has lots and lots of music that is only available in a video format and NOT part of any streaming service. Live concerts are a big one for us. We also enjoy all the DJ channels spinning world music or electronica.

  4. wolters

    I went from Zune (Pass), XBOX Music, Groove, Google Play Music and now YouTube Music. Tried Spotify but just never liked it. YouTube Music took way too long to roll out officially but I really do like it and it's algorithms. SuperMix has gotten so much better...

  5. jdjan

    I'm grandfathered in to the $7.99 deal as well. BUT it's a killer deal because of YT Premium and I can't give that up easily - I watch more YT than regular TV these days.

    • duncanator

      Same here but I may bump up to the family plan at 17.99. Quite a steep increase, but my almost teenager infects my playlist and watch history from time to time which might make the increase worth it. Still, the 7.99 for all that music and youtube with no commercials is totally worth every penny.

  6. christianp

    As others have said, I think most people are paid subscribers to YouTube Music for YouTube Premium rather than the music service itself. For me, the library management (particularly sorting 'saved to library' tracks) is still way behind other services. Also, I'm disappointed in the highest audio quality being 256kbps AAC while Apple Music has lossless. It genuinely does sound better to my ears so it's hard to justify paying the same amount for YouTube Music when Apple Music offers substantially better library management and significantly higher quality audio. Of course, everyone should evaluate these services for themselves but certainly in my case, I would never choose to use YouTube Music over other music streaming services.