Responding to criticism that it represents a threat to the music industry, YouTube has commissioned a study from RBB Economics.
The study looks at YouTube data and a survey of 6,000 users across Germany, France, Italy, and the UK.
In its first paper, RBB investigated the question of cannibalisation, answering the question: “Does the fact that people listen to music on YouTube mean that they don’t use other – sometimes more lucrative – sources of music?”
The study found that if YouTube did not exist, 85% of the listening time spent on YouTube would move to sources which offer lower value to artists.
It would also result in a significant increase in piracy, with time spent listening to pirated music rising by 29%.
YouTube said this suggests that people are coming to it instead of pirating music.
It also found that blocking music from YouTube does not lead to an increase in streams on other platforms.
YouTube said the data shows that it helps expand the market, not cannibalise it.