YouTube paid out more than $4 billion in royalties to artists, songwriters, and rights-holders, according to a new blog post from the streaming giant’s global head of music Lyor Cohen.

While the post was short on detail, Cohen did say that “YouTube has paid over $4 billion to the music industry in the last 12 months alone and has added more paid members in Q1 ’21 than in any other quarter since launch.” He also added that the money was derived from ads and premium subscriptions, and that more than 30% of that $4 billion came from user-generated content.

Cohen said YouTube’s aim is “to become the leading revenue generator for the music industry,” although it has a ways to go: Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek announced that his company paid out over $5 billion to the music industry in 2020.

YouTube — the world’s largest streaming service by far — has long been criticized by executives and artists for its low royalty rates, particularly compared with other streaming services.

The rest of his post is largely enthusiastic promotion of the company’s projects and offerings, although it does note that YouTube has been branching out into new sources of revenue, particularly paid livestreams.

“We’re continuing to innovate with direct-to-fan products such as ticketing, merch, memberships, paid digital goods, and virtual ticketed events. BLACKPINK’s paid virtual concert – THE SHOW – sold nearly 280,000 channel memberships across 81 countries and helped the group earn 2.7 million new subscribers to their official artist channel,” he wrote.

Read the full post here.