YouTube now has more than 100 million Premium subscribers

YouTube’s logo with geometric design in the background
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

YouTube reached an important milestone on Thursday for its paid music and video tiers, crossing the 100 million subscriber benchmark globally. That figure includes trial subscriptions, so the real number of paid subscribers is fewer. YouTube’s subscription tiers have been a primary revenue generator for Google’s subscriptions services, which hit $15 billion in revenue (including YouTube TV and Google One) in 2023. It’s been roughly nine years since YouTube launched a paid, ad-free subscription service; it later decided to divide YouTube Red into YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium.

YouTube Music is the company’s streaming music service; the ad-free Premium tier costs $10.99 per month. YouTube Premium, at $13.99 per month, includes Music Premium and also removes ads from YouTube, unlocks higher-quality streaming, and enables background play and downloads. The company’s subscriber count didn’t distinguish between the two tiers, which makes it hard to tell how many people are actually using YouTube Music compared to other music platforms like Apple Music and Spotify and how many are paying extra for YouTube Premium.

At a combined 100 million subscribers, YouTube’s numbers are still behind those of Netflix (260.8 million subscribers) and Spotify (226 million paid subscribers). It’s more comparable to Disney Plus, which crossed the 150 million paid sub mark last year. But YouTube Premium shouldn’t really be seen as a competitor to other premium streaming services, especially given its quite varied offerings (user-generated video, live TV, streaming music, on-demand video). YouTube also abandoned the streaming arms race and stopped making most original content in early 2022.

To that end, YouTube’s primary source of revenue is still advertising, not subscriptions. But 100 million is nothing to sneeze at, and the steady growth of YouTube Premium and YouTube Music means they’ll play an important role in YouTube’s future.