The major music labels are by far the most popular video publishers on YouTube, easily surpassing YouTube stars like Fred and MondoMedia by a few billion views, according to new stats from Tubemogul. Topping the list is Universal Music Group, which has been able to accumulate a total of 8.7 billion views on all of its official YouTube (s goog) channels. ExpertVillage, on the other hand, which happens to be the most popular non-music publisher, accumulated only 770 million views — less than any of the four major labels as well as Disney (s dis) offspring Hollywood Records.
The real loser of the list, however, is Warner Music (s WMG). The label was able to accumulate almost 1.1 billion views until it pulled all of its content from YouTube earlier this year. Affected by the move were music videos from Madonna, Nickelback and Gnarls Barkley, among others. Since then, it has been losing out on millions of views each day, according to Tubemogul.
Tubemogul’s stats sum up numbers from the major labels’ YouTube channels and the official channels of their artists and sub-labels. Universal’s numbers, for example, include video views from the official Island Def Jam channel as well as Jay-Z’s YouTube page. All of these numbers are accumulated views as of yesterday, with the obvious exception of Warner Music. The major label decided to pull all of its music off YouTube due to a licensing dispute.
Warner’s knee-jerk reaction has caused an uproar among YouTube’s users, mostly because the label also decided to pull the plug on countless user-generated clips that made use of Warner’s tunes, but Tubemogul’s stats show that the label is also losing out on millions of eyeballs on its official channels. “For the 30 days before the takedown, (Warner Music’s) channels totaled an average of 2,972,497 views per day,” Tubemogul marketing director David Burch told me. That means Warner has missed out on hundreds of millions of views since it pulled the plug.
It’s unclear exactly how much revenue Warner is losing due to its absence. Warner made less than $6.4 million from YouTube during all of its fiscal year 2008, The New York Times reported, but Universal Music has been on the record saying that it is making “tens of millions” of dollars from its presence on YouTube. And then there’s the promise to make money with user-generated content like the JK Wedding Video featuring the Chris Brown song “Forever.” Sony Music decided to monetize the video through links to Amazon (s amzn) and iTunes (s aapl), and the song made it into the top 10 of both sites despite being more than 1 year old at the time.
Tubemogul’s stats definitely explain why Universal likes YouTube, but one has to wait and see whether all those billions of eyeballs will also follow the label’s artists to Vevo, the new music video site YouTube and some entertainment industry content partners are slated to jointly launch later this year. Vevo was originally announced as a joint venture between YouTube and Universal in April. Sony joined the party in June, and YouTube is now in talks with CBS and NBC to develop original programming for the site.