TikTok loses Taylor Swift 💔

'Cause baby, now we got bad blood.

It's Friday and Twitch’s upstart rival just raised the stakes. In a bold move, Kick has opened its Creator Incentive Program to all streamers—with the promise that creators can keep 95% of subscription revenue.


In 2023, marketers spent nearly $1 billion on YouTube campaigns. Our team wanted to know exactly where all that money went—so we took a deep dive into Gospel Stats. Along with weekly recaps of YouTube’s top sponsored videos, our analysis unearthed three trends that are poised to define YouTube in 2024:

1. Self-promotion is on the rise: In 2023, MrBeast’s Feastables, Mark Rober’s Crunchlabs, and KSI/Logan Paul’s Prime Hydration each scored at least one #1 finish in our Gospel Stats Weekly Brand Reports.

  • Creators have several advantages when advertising their own products: they understand the merchandise and marketing strategy, have direct access to their target audience, and can save big on promotional costs.

2. Brands are putting creators in paid media: Prizma Founder and CEO Leila Marsh told Tubefilter that her team has “found that allowing creators to reiterate brand messaging and calls to action in their own tone of voice consistently results in higher conversion rates for the brand and higher views on talent’s content.”

3. The sponsor pool is diversifying: At VidCon Anaheim 2023, Tubefilter’s own Josh Cohen highlighted a startling paradigm shift. The dollars flowing into the influencer marketing industry are now coming from everywhere (even personal injury lawyers!). As Josh noted, Morgan & Morgan sponsored 226 YouTube videos with over 50,000 views between January and June of 2023.

  • Joined Media Group Brands & Talents Founder Olga Wese identified three other brand categories sponsoring creators on YouTube: household products, car makers, and online services.

  • The takeaway: the diversification of influencer marketing is creating more opportunities for specialized creators and niche campaigns.

Want to see #4? Check out our full article here, or head over to Gospel Stats to discover thousands of in-depth data insights.



This variety streamer is mixing things up with a little In N Out and a lot of Apex

When ClaraAtWork got her start on Twitch, she wasn’t looking for an audience—she just wanted to join a supportive community. Four years later, she’s built exactly that (and attracted nearly 90,000 followers in the process).

How it started: Clara was an ocean away from home and fresh out of a relationship when one of her closest friends began streaming on Twitch. She wanted to be supportive (and needed “an escape” from everyday life), so she decided to get involved with her friend’s community.

  • It was the right choice: within a few months, Clara had discovered a passion for Twitch and begun operating as a mod for another streamer—a role that made her a familiar face within the platform’s Apex Legends fanbase.

  • By the time the creator decided to give streaming a try (at the urging of her friends on Twitch), there was already a community eager to follow along as she played Apex.

“I started streaming straight off my Xbox. No webcam, nothing. Because I had built such a nice community of friends…I hit affiliate in my first seven days of streaming.”

How it’s going: Clara now streams every single day to a close-knit community of longtime fans. She still finds time to play Apex, but she’s also branching out into more IRL content—the kind that takes her on adventures to glass-smashing rage rooms and In N Out.

What’s up next: For Clara, 2024 is about two things: doubling down on variety streaming and making a positive impact on her community. In addition to bringing her fans along as she ventures into the outside world, Clara says her main goal for the year is to “spread more joy.”


Universal Music Group just deployed a major weapon in the war against TikTok: Taylor Swift

In 2021, Universal Music Group described its licensing contract with TikTok as an agreement that “delivers equitable compensation for recording artists and songwriters.” Three years later, the two companies are going to war over those same rights—and artists are getting caught in the crossfire.

The context: On January 30 (the day before its contract with TikTok was set to expire), UMG released a searing open letter that accused the platform of attempting to “to hurt vulnerable artists” by pushing for a deal that “shortchanges artists and songwriters.” The record label also took issue with TikTok’s embrace of AI songwriting tools, as well as its alleged indifference to a “rising tide of content adjacency issues.”

  • Then, on January 31, UMG’s contract with TikTok expired—and the label promptly began removing and muting tracks from global superstars like Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Drake, and BTS.

The response: By February 1, TikTok had gone on the offensive. In an inflammatory statement, the platform accused UMG of putting “their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters”:

“Clearly, Universal’s self-serving actions are not in the best interests of artists, songwriters and fans.”

Back in time: TikTok and UMG’s standoff isn’t the first major battle between a social media platform and a music industry giant. Eight years ago, the Recording Industry Association of America accused YouTube of creating a “value gap” between the size of its library and the size of its artist payouts.

  • TikTok’s rapid growth and influence has led to a similar imbalance. To reach a compromise, UMG and TikTok will have to determine which company needs the other more—a conclusion that’s likely to have a serious impact on deeply interwoven industries that have already been rocked by mass layoffs, recurring strikes, and the rise of AI.


Congrats on 100 million, YouTube. (And good luck with all those cards.)

Creators aren’t the only ones tracking their subscriber counts. In a blog posted yesterday, YouTube announced that its YouTube Music and Premium tiers now reach 100 million paying customers.

Head of Music Lyor Cohen celebrated that milestone with a humorous Short thanking YouTube’s paid users. The whole thing really hammers home the enormity of 100 million subscribers (while also channeling Santa Claus’ Naughty or Nice list).

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Today's newsletter is from: Emily Burton, Sam Gutelle, and Josh Cohen. Drew Baldwin helped edit, too. It's a team effort.