Vevo: Pop culture moments drive music video viewership

Rihanna’s halftime performance during Super Bowl LVII in 2023 boosted the singer’s entire Vevo catalog by 4.5 times on Super Bowl Sunday. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
Rihanna’s halftime performance during Super Bowl LVII in 2023 boosted the singer’s entire Vevo catalog by 4.5 times on Super Bowl Sunday. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

The music video network released a year-end review documenting the top pop culture moments that defined the year — and resulting listener trends.

Music video network Vevo has released its 2023 year in review, spotlighting the trends that drove music video viewership this year. While Apple Music and Spotify listeners unpack their personal listening trends via Replay and Wrapped, respectively, Vevo’s analysis uncovers what drove viewers to specific music videos.

It turns out that music videos new and old received a strong uptick in viewership when a certain track or artist was at the center of the pop culture zeitgeist. When an artist made headlines, their Vevo music video catalog saw a boost in viewership.

Film and television also sparked interest in music videos for songs discussed or featured on screen. 

During peak Barbie-mania this summer, songs like “Barbie Girl” by Aqua and Indigo Girls’ “Closer To Fine” garnered 242% and 556% more global daily views, driven by their relation to the Greta Gerwig film. And when an episode of The Kardashians took viewers behind the scenes of Meghan Trainor’s music video, which starred Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner, the music video saw a 165% increase in U.S. views during the weekend the episode premiered.

While music streaming year-end roundups are more personalized and offer potentially unsurprising global trends (like Taylor Swift being Spotify’s top streamed artist of the year), Vevo’s data offers a unique perspective on what drives consumers to music videos.

Celebrity news drives music video revisits

News and updates from celebrity musicians over the past year had an impact on music video viewership, Vevo’s insights found. 

For instance, Rihanna’s halftime performance during Super Bowl LVII boosted the singer’s entire Vevo catalog by 4.5 times on Super Bowl Sunday. And after Britney Spears released her memoir in October, fans flocked to music videos from notable parts of the book, particularly “Everytime,” which saw a 2,612% lift in global daily views.

The reuniting of music groups like *NSYNC, Blink-182 and RBD, whether for new music or just a television appearance, also sparked renewed interest in their past work. Blink-182’s viewership was six times higher than its average daily views the day it released “One More Time,” and *NSYNC’s on-stage reunion during the VMAs garnered its Vevo catalog an 82% lift in global daily views.

Fans of Tina Turner, Tony Bennett, Sinéad O’Connor and more celebrated the artists’ legacies by revisiting their music video catalogs after they passed away this year. Vevo noted that after O’Connor’s death in July, her catalog saw a 4,237% lift in U.S. daily views. In particular, her “Nothing Compares 2 U” video saw a 3,941% increase in U.S. daily views.

Interest in global music shows no sign of slowing down

The past few years have seen an explosion in interest for Latin music and its subgenres, which has led Vevo to launch four television channels dedicated to the language in the past two years. As it has gotten easier to access and discover music in languages other than English, and as the fast-growing Hispanic market gains more influence in the U.S., Spanish-language music’s uptake has grown.

Insight from Vevo’s Media Tracker survey cements the fact that language is not a barrier for music listeners. Sixty-one percent of U.S. respondents are interested in discovering music from around the world and 59% said they don’t need to understand a song’s words in order to enjoy it.

In a previous interview with Vevo’s vice president of inclusive network sales, Rob Vélez, the increase in attention for Latin music and its subgenres has led the company to “hesitate to call it the Latin genre” due to the diversity of sound across regional Mexican, corrido, Latin trap, reggaeton and more.

Latin music’s growth has been especially influenced by Mexican subgenres such as corrido, mariachi and banda, as well as cross-genre collaborations with established Latin stars like Shakira and Maluma.

Perhaps spurred as a result of Latin’s music success, African genres have also benefited from increased interest. Musicians from subgenres like Afrobeats and Amapiano have grown their audiences through cross-genre collaborations with artists from pop, R&B, reggaeton and other genres.

Not only does this show the increasing influence of the global music scene, but it also paves the way for cultural exploration. Vevo Media Tracker’s study found 67% of consumers feel music is the best way to connect with and explore other cultures.

Social media’s impact on music continues to grow

Viral tracks on social media drove increased music video discovery, according to Vevo’s report. 

For instance, on the day Victoria Monét’s “On My Mama” video was released and subsequently went viral on social media — due to its authentic nods to early-2000s-era southern rap and R&B music videos — her entire catalog received an 810% increase in global viewership.

Social media’s impact wasn’t just felt on new releases. Songs from years and even decades prior are benefitting from renewed interest online — and their videos are getting more views as a result. 

After garnering attention on social media, lifts in older tracks such as Rihanna’s 2005 single “If It’s Lovin’ That You Want” (412% lift in global daily views), Selena Gomez’s 2020 song “Look At Her Now” (125% lift), Role Model’s 2022 track “Never Let You Go” (715% lift) and ABBA’s 1976 classic “Money, Money, Money” (84% lift) saw notable increases in Vevo viewership.

Another Vevo survey found that 57% of people discovered new music and artists on social media, and 76% of those people were likely to seek out and watch the music video for that song or others from the musician.

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