At Epidemic Sound, we believe music is one of the most important elements of video production. For our inaugural Sound of the Internet Report, we analyzed metadata and user-generated content from YouTube videos that included songs from our catalog of more than 35,000 music tracks. Why? To understand how global storytellers on YouTube used music in their videos this year.
In this blog post, we'll dig into the findings and reveal the music used most by YouTubers this year, which music content creators are looking for, and which music they should be using to take their content to the next level in 2023.
Breaking down the sound
Each year, millions of storytellers and influencers use our tracks to enhance their content. In 2022 alone, Epidemic Sound’s music was used in more than 14 million videos and heard 1.5 billion times per day on YouTube – that’s more than half a trillion times this year.
In fact, Epidemic Sound’s 100 most popular tracks of 2022 have racked up more than 20 billion video views this year in over 2.5 million creator-made videos. But it doesn’t end on YouTube – in 2022, Epidemic Sound tracks were heard 11.5 billion times per month on TikTok.
Choosing the right genre, tempo, instrument, or track length is crucial to making memorable and engaging content. And, at a time when more content creators than ever are earning a living by monetizing their videos, knowing which song, mood or sound effect to use can make the difference between a viewer staying or splitting!
Classical music strikes a chord with modern creators
Tried and true genres like electronic and pop will always be popular with content creators, but at Epidemic Sound, we also care about what content creators think is the next big thing.
Our research found that the use of classical music on YouTube has risen by over 90% worldwide in the past year, making it the fastest-growing genre used by content creators in 2022. Classical music also saw the most YoY growth across Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and the United States, indicating this isn’t a flash-in-the-pan trend, but a global, creator-led movement.
We’ve found this uptick extends to our platform, too. Downloads of classical music from Epidemic Sound’s platform have increased by 64% YoY, while our classical titles have collectively been played more than 200 million times on music streaming platforms. Not too bad!
The rising interest in classical music might be pinpointed to the genre's versatility. Classical music can showcase a dynamic range of emotions, lending itself to a wide range of interpretation and making it a sought-after choice for creators across all content categories. Our data shows that classical music is the fastest- growing music genre on YouTube in categories such as Comedy, Education, Entertainment, Gaming, How To & Style, News & Politics, and Science & Technology.
“The right song is vital in setting the scene,” said content creator Cecilia Blomdahl, whose cinematic YouTube videos document her daily life in Svalbard, the Northernmost town in the world. “Classical music provides a great range of emotions. It can be both melancholic and joyful depending on the footage, so the genre fits really well with the feeling I want to evoke in my videos.”
“I found myself choosing classical music a lot more this year than I did in 2021,” she added. “Trends move incredibly fast, and sometimes they only stay for as short as a week. But I foresee classical music being here to stay for a while.”
The artists behind the rise of classical music
The classical music genre is only as strong as the artists behind it. So, who are the classical musicians scoring your favorite YouTube videos? Meet the rising stars of classical music.
"Classical music is certainly timeless, but our research shows this genre is particularly relevant right now," said Epidemic Sound CEO Oscar Höglund. "Perhaps it’s that sense of comfort and escapism that people are looking for, but we do know that the genre has this unique ability to move people on an emotional level – and storytellers are catching on to that. I expect there will be an even larger movement towards storytellers using classical music in their content, which also creates an opportunity for classical music artists to continue to modernize the genre and appeal to new audiences."
The Epidemic Sound tracks YouTubers used most this year
Swedish electronic house music artist Ooyy, whose electronic house bangers have soundtracked more than 485,000 YouTube videos in 2022, was the most popular artist of the year. Meanwhile, artists Mai Ligne and Dream Cave rose through the ranks to clinch the second and third spots, with Dylan Sitts and Experia rounding out the top five.
Taking a look at how these trends break down regionally, the three most popular genres in the United States this year were Electronic, Hip-Hop/Rap and Pop; pop duo Flux Vortex’s dance floor anthem, ‘Not Afraid To Love,’ was the most popular song of 2022. Meanwhile, storytellers on YouTube across Latin America, the Middle East and Africa gravitated toward the suspenseful, rhythmic instrumental tracks of Eye of the Newscaster by Out to The World.
The most popular genres and track, by YouTube category
Classical music might be the hottest genre on the YouTube scene right now, but there are still other popular genres creators gravitate to. Below, our data breaks down the top genres most-used by your favorite YouTube categories.
Leaning into positive vibes in 2022 and beyond
While music plays a critical role in setting the tone of a video, tuning into the mood you want to create is a reliable starting point for making sure you’re able to amplify particular emotions in your content. Despite the prominence of 'Restless' and 'Dark' moods in 2022, it's the 'Happy', 'Hopeful' and 'Dreamy' ones that take the top spots and propel us into 2023.
With all that in mind, now seems as good a time as any to browse our catalog and find the next big thing. Maybe it’s a classical artist, a hip-hop collective, or a Finnish death metal band. Check it out below and find the perfect soundtrack today.
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