Recent surveys have shown YouTube's growing influence as a place for music discovery, but now its becoming a significant source of revenue as well. No one is releasing hard numbers, but at least one major label, Universal, admits that payments from YouTube now measure in the "tens of millions of dollars" and will top $100 million for the year.
"(YouTube) is not like radio, where it's just promotional," Rio Caraeff, EVP of Universal Music Group's eLabs told cNet. "It's a revenue stream, a commercial business. It's growing tremendously. It's up almost 80& for us year-over-year in the U.S. in terms of our revenue from this category." Universal is by far YouTube's most popular channel with nearly 3 billion total views. Sony BMG is second with a mere 485 million. Of the top 10 channels on YouTube, seven are music related including Warner Bros. Records, Soulja Boy, and Disney's Hollywood Records.
Most indie artists and labels are not yet receiving a share of revenue even as YouTube and it's parent Google work to increase ad revenue and expand their music offerings.