Lyor Cohen took over his position as YouTube's global head of music on Monday, and Tuesday, the company made an announcement touting its impact on the music industry. "In the last 12 months, YouTube has paid out over $1 billion to the music industry from advertising alone," said Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl in a post on YouTube's official blog.
The announcement comes as a defense against past criticism from both artists and labels regarding the platform's business model, and ability to generate revenue for the creators behind its musical content. The post asserts the value of ad-based revenue in comparison to subscription-based models (Spotify, e.g.), positing that the $1 billion figure "[demonstrates] that multiple experiences and models are succeeding alongside each other."
Billboard points out that, for comparison, Spotify paid out roughly $1.75 billion to the recording industry in 2015, but that the 2016 figure is expected to rise significantly as a result of a "snowballing" subscriber base.
While the figure is substantial, Billboard also noted that, when asked for comment on the subject, an unnamed recording industry exec said they were "struggling to understand" how YouTube "came up with" the $1B number. The news also comes on the heels of a June report that determined YouTube's payment rate to rights holders roughly halved in 2015. Full story here, via Billboard.