It was, as these things go, a perfect storm. YouTube launched in the same week of 2005 that Andy Samberg dropped “The Chronicles of Narnia” on Saturday Night Live. Within hours of the broadcast, bootleg copies of the video made its way onto the brand new video sharing platform, and before you could say “Mr. Pibb and red vines equals crazy delicious!” YouTube had its first viral sensation on its way to its current ubiquitous state. 

Today, nearly 70% of Americans visit the site at least on a monthly basis, and 35% of Americans are daily visitors to the site.

So who’s checking out YouTube, besides almost everybody? On the age front, it’s a marketer’s dream, with an astounding 56% of Gen Z visiting the site every single day. Twenty percent of Americans over the age of 55 are also daily visitors to YouTube, a growth trend we recognized back in 2017. In short: A whole lot of Americans spend time with YouTube.

But all is not rosy for YouTube on the Gen Z front. While tens of millions of Gen Z Americans are visiting YouTube daily, those numbers have been trending downward over the last few years. Interestingly, the 25-34 age group has more or less maintained their daily YouTube visits since 2017, and there has been a slight uptick in the 35+ market for daily YouTube visits.

YouTube, of course, is more than just a place to see the latest viral videos. YouTube TV, for instance, is a cutting-the-cord operation that allows viewers to still catch their local television stations in addition to countless others. And YouTube Premium allows users to bypass ads and grants access to YouTube Music, a Spotify and Pandora competitor. And there’s also viral videos. They’re still there.

One area where YouTube is strongest is amongst music fans, with 14% of Americans saying they spend over five hours a week listening to music on YouTube, and nearly half of the country saying they hum along at least a little bit to the site.

Unsurprisingly, people who say music is a “passion” of theirs are the ones hitting up YouTube at the highest daily rates, nearly double the rate of people who say music is something they just “like” or is “important” to them. The numbers are even brighter when respondents are asked “how many hours a week do you listen to music on YouTube,” with 37% of people who are passionate about music spending over 5+ hours a week listening to music on YouTube.

As might be expected, the younger someone is, the more likely they are to use YouTube to listen to music. In fact, Gen Z doubles up its closest age bracket competitor when it comes to 5 or more hours a week of listening to tunes on the ‘Tube.

Here’s some interesting numbers when it comes to YouTube Music’s competition, specifically Spotify and Pandora. Nearly 3 in 10 heavy Spotify users (5+ hours) a week also are heavy YouTube Music listeners, whereas 34% of heavy Spotify users never listen to YouTube Music.

On the Pandora front, the numbers are more stark, with 20% of heavy Pandora listeners also heavy YouTube Music listeners, but over 50% of heavy Pandora listeners never listen to YouTube Music. Clearly, YouTube Music should be looking to peel away some of those Pandora listeners.

Interestingly, passionate movie fans are just about as likely as passionate music fans to head on over for a daily YouTube fix, but passionate TV fans are not. In fact, passionate movie fans are nearly twice as likely to have YouTube be part of their daily routine.

The same general principle applies for sports fans, with passionate fans not showing a noticeable daily YouTube habit.

Paying Up

YouTube also offers YouTube Premium, a service which, for $11.99 a month, allows users to stream music and videos. Some 13% of the nation are users of the service, but this number likely includes people who piggyback on someone else’s subscription. Another 6% of the population claims they intend to pay for the service at some point in the future.

When it comes to age, a little bit of a different story emerges, with the 35-to-54 age bracket coming in as the most likely to be using YouTube Premium. And 5-6% of every age range 25+ says they’re likely to do so in the future. Gen Z? Not so much, at least not yet.

Interestingly, while music fans move the needle when it comes to YouTube Premium usage, it’s movie fans that really set the screens on fire, with people who say movies are “important” or a “passion” of theirs clocking in at each 18% usage of YouTube Premium.

Not only has YouTube demonstrated its staying power, it has also managed to hold on as a major destination point for Gen Z, some of whom weren’t even born when Andy Samberg was crushing cupcakes from the Magnolia bakery. The company’s premium product is also a hit among the older set. All in all? YouTube’s trajectory is still clearly pointing up.