2019 Instagram data report: 58% of videos contain music

Instagram may have started as a photo-sharing app, but with the addition of video in 2013, stories in 2016, IGTV in 2018, and most recently its new reels functionality, the platform has become a top competitor for video-centric apps. As Instagram continually develops features to compete with Snap, TikTok, and other platforms, the Facebook-owned company shares its parent’s “video first” strategy.

We analyzed Facebook videos for 2019 and found that in the years after adopting its video first strategy, the platform saw an increase in video uploads, engagements, and views. Now for the first time, we’re sharing our data on Instagram and seeing how “video first” has impacted the platform over the past three years.

Note: For this analysis, Pex measured any public video content that displayed in a user’s Instagram feed, including short-form video and IGTV. Because Instagram stories are removed after 24 hours, we did not include them in this analysis. All data is as of December 31, 2019.

Video upload growth has remained steady since 2017

Instagram videos saw the biggest jump in uploads from 2016 to 2017, increasing by 3.5 times. This massive growth hit a plateau in 2017, and uploads have remained steady since. Instagram introduced stories in 2016, in an effort to compete with Snapchat, and this move could have increased the apps popularity, thereby driving more content uploads overall.

Instagram released IGTV in 2018, but the feature did not drive additional uploads for the platform, and from 2018 to 2019, video uploads increased less than one percent.

Pex | 2019 Instagram data report: Instagram video uploads by year

Per-video views on Instagram have increased 159% over the past 3 years

While video uploads haven’t increased substantially for the past two years, average views per video have increased every year since 2016. In 2019, per video views increased by 10.75% when compared to 2018. Overall in the last 3 years, per video views grew by 159%.

Pex | 2019 Instagram data report: Instagram video views per upload

Cumulative views have also increased every year since 2016, showing video is increasing in value on the app, despite a steady upload rate. In 2018, overall views increased 119% and then increased another 10.86% in 2019.

Pex | 2019 Instagram data report: Instagram video views by year

83.7% of views on Instagram come from 3% of videos

Much like we’ve seen on YouTube and Facebook, a very limited number of videos make up the majority of views on Instagram. Only 3% of the videos on Instagram are driving 83.7% of the views. On Facebook, the top 2% of videos generated 86% of all views, while on YouTube the distribution is even more extreme, with just 0.77% of videos bringing in 82.83% of views.

Pex | 2019 Instagram data report: Percent of video views on Instagram by view tier

The majority of all views, 38.7%, came from the 100,000 to 1 million views tier. While overall views may be increasing on the platform, less than 1% came from videos with more than 100 million views.

Prevalence of music in Instagram videos

Instagram has grown into a multi-function platform that relies heavily on short-form video content. In turn, those videos rely heavily on music. 58% of videos on Instagram in 2019 contained at least 10 seconds of music, representing 43.8% of total views on the platform. 

This means that interestingly, unlike on Facebook and YouTube, videos with music on Instagram don’t have higher views than those without music. In fact, in 2019 the average views per video with or without music were nearly the same.


Instagram video uploads experienced massive growth in 2017 but have stagnated since, and only grew marginally in 2019. Despite uploads hitting a plateau, videos still became more important to the platform last year, with views per video increasing nearly 11%. In 2019, more than half of videos contained music, and those videos made up 43.8% of all views, showing just how valuable music is to the platform. 

Despite the amount of video on Instagram that contains music, there’s currently no way for all music rightsholders, aside from the majors, to easily license their catalogs to the platform and be compensated for uses of their work. 

At Pex, we’ve built a real-time licensing solution for rightsholders and platforms to allow all copyright in UGC to be licensed appropriately. It’s called the Attribution Engine, and it’s free for rightsholders to register their catalogs. Email us to learn more.

Video first: Facebook video uploads increased 28% in 2019, and nearly half of all videos contain music

In 2016, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company’s strategy was “to become video first”. Zuckerberg predicted then that in five years time, most of what people would consume online would be video. Nearly five years later, Facebook has taken its live video broadcasting feature global, changed its algorithm to push live video broadcasts higher in users’ feeds, launched stories for Instagram and Facebook, and announced it will host licensed music videos on its platform. Video is of top importance for Facebook, but has its efforts paid off?

At Pex, we analyze social media sites and share unique insights about the content that’s uploaded. We’ve shared our data and insights on YouTube in the past, and now we’re unloading some interesting stats on the social giant, Facebook. Has video become more prominent on the platform after years of “video first”? Here’s the ultimate Facebook video data guide to date.

A quick note on Pex data

Pex indexes selected platforms, extracts audio and video content, fingerprints it and searches through it. In addition, we collect and actively update all surrounding metadata, which includes views, comments, likes, dislikes and other information. We have no direct relationship with Facebook or YouTube. We have no visibility into private and unlisted content, nor do we have any information about the consumers of the content. All the data in this article is based on performance of all publicly available videos as of Dec 31, 2019.

Facebook videos saw significant growth in 2019, up 28 percent

Facebook’s video-first strategy can be seen over the past two years. At the end of 2019, there were 1.29 billion videos on Facebook. Last year saw 279 million more videos uploaded than in 2018, a 28% increase. The average public video accrued 23,473 views and total views on the platform reached 30.25 trillion.

In just one year, total views on Facebook videos increased by 81%. Engagement increased as well: reactions (including likes) increased by 66%, and comments grew by 54%. Shares were also up, increasing by 38%.

Pex Facebook Analysis 2019: video growth - uploads and engagements

The top 2 percent of videos generated 86 percent of all views

Perhaps most noteworthy of all, the top 2% of videos generated 86% of all views on Facebook. When looking at videos based on their view tiers, we found that videos with 1 to 10 million views were the most important for the platform, accounting for 33.7% of total views.

We saw a similar distribution on YouTube, where just 0.77% of videos made up 82.83% of total views, and the 1 to 10 million views tier accounts for 31.6% percent of total views. 

Nearly half of all videos on Facebook contain music 

Throughout 2017 and 2018, Facebook signed deals with all three music majors to license their catalogs and allow users to include music in their uploads. The result? Not only is music prevalent in Facebook videos, but its presence coincides with higher view counts.

We found that 49% of all videos on Facebook contain at least 10 seconds of music and that those videos account for 77% of all views. In comparison to YouTube, we found that music was almost systematically present, with more than 84% of videos containing music. The numbers clearly illustrate how videos with music drive more views, and that licensing music was beneficial for Facebook and its users.

Pex Facebook Analysis 2019: Prevalence of music on Facebook

Pex works with platforms, rightsholders, and creators to manage the uses of copyrighted material in user-generated content (UGC). With our Attribution Engine, any platform containing UGC, like YouTube and Facebook, can license material from rightsholders in real time, as users are uploading their content online, resulting in proper attribution and compensation. Learn more about the Attribution Engine or reach out at for more information.

Podcast growth doubles every year, over 7 million hours uploaded in 2019

Podcasting has exploded in recent years and while Covid-19 caused a blip, it doesn’t seem the medium will be otherwise slowing down. According to Edison Research, more than half the U.S. population has listened to a podcast and roughly 90 million people are monthly podcast listeners. With ad revenue growing rapidly, the industry is expected to produce more than $1 billion in revenue by 2021.

Big names are inflating the podcast industry. Spotify spent a reported $396 million to become the second biggest provider behind Apple Podcasts. Major content providers like Warner Media launched their own podcast networks, Sony acquired multiple podcast properties, celebrities host their own podcasts, and even Barack and Michelle Obama are producing podcasts for Spotify.

Although we’ve mainly reported data on social media and UGC sites, the technology we’ve built at Pex is applied to many content platforms. Recently, we began analyzing podcasts to see how the medium is progressing and what opportunities it holds for rightsholders, creators and platforms.

Podcast growth is off the charts

By the end of 2019, we counted 819,496 unique shows, of which 264,104 were started just last year.

To date, we’ve indexed 32,402,790 unique podcast episodes, which are growing at an exponential rate, essentially doubling every year.

The average length of each episode is currently at 35 minutes and 27 seconds, down from 2015 when the longest was 45 minutes and 44 seconds.

Nearly 7 million hours of podcasts (6,967,370) were published in 2019. For comparison, this represents around 8 days of newly uploaded content to YouTube.

Christianity dominates podcasts

There are 112 categories within Apple Podcasts. Perhaps surprisingly at first, the fastest growing and largest category is Christianity, which is separate from the Religion and Spirituality category. This is largely driven by an abundance of sermon uploads. With some churches holding daily mass, sermons are being given constantly, and they fit the podcast medium perfectly.

If Christianity is the largest category, what’s the smallest? It turns out that Swimming podcasts are the least produced. While swimming may not immediately come to mind as a great podcast channel, the industry is using the medium to discuss pro swimming, water polo, and just general techniques for swimmers. As podcast growth explodes, it looks like Swimming is a little fish in a big pond.

Excluding Christianity, the rest of the top 20 categories are of similar size. Comedy, Society & Culture, Music, and Sports round out the top five.

Nearly 17% of podcasts contain music

Of the 32.4 million podcasts we’ve indexed, 5,447,823 (16.8%) contained at least 10 seconds of music (of any kind). Since podcasts are audio only, it’s convenient to include music to spice up a long talk track, and some podcasts may even be dedicated to commentary about music, making it hard to produce an episode without a song. Podcasts often leverage music in their intros and outros or as part of their advertisements. Simply put, music plays a significant role in podcast content.

Why does it matter that 17% of podcasts contain music? Because compared to YouTube, this number seems small. We previously published that a staggering 84% of videos on YouTube include music. Is this a reflection of how difficult it is for podcast producers to license music appropriately? Producers don’t currently have a seamless way to license music for podcasts, and the inherent beauty of producing podcasts quickly does not lend itself well to music’s traditional licensing practices. With ad revenue projected to hit $1 billion in 2021, the music industry has a huge opportunity to increase revenue through podcasts.

We’re just getting started with podcast data and insights. Follow us on Twitter @Pex to get the latest insights.

Social media on lockdown: What were the most viewed videos in March?

As the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus forces us indoors and online more than ever, platforms built for social, UGC, and streaming are reaching previously unknown potential. Worldwide streaming has increased 20 percent, and platforms like Netflix and YouTube are starting to combat the increase by reducing their bandwidth and lowering video quality. Social platforms are seeing new accounts created and more uploads made. Even the World Health Organization has joined TikTok to help educate the public and fight misinformation.

So, what’s the type of content society prefers when stuck in social isolation? We’ve all bonded in the past over shows like “Game of Thrones” and videos like Charlie bit my finger — what will bring us together now during our most distant time?

Here’s what people were watching and sharing on short-form video platforms during March 2020. View the full list here.

Top Views on Instagram

On Instagram, singer/rapper Cardi B took five of the top 10 spots, all for content about coronavirus.

Jennifer Lopez and her family made the list for having excellent pool-side service, even while staying home.

TikTok dances, especially by celebrities, were abundant. Many of the most viewed videos in March were actually TikTok videos that took over on other platforms like Instagram and Twitter. LeBron James and his family got in on the fun, as did Justin and Hailey Bieber, who posted two dances that made it into our most viewed list.

Not everything that made the list was coronavirus related. There was a time when people talked about things other than the virus, and videos from early March still came out on top. Kim Kardashian made the list, posting a video of her daughter Chicago singing “rain, rain, go away” on March 14. In 2019, Kim’s half-sister Kylie Jenner dominated Instagram in 2019, but her content didn’t make a big impact this March. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also got top views on his post with his daughter for International Women’s Day on March 8.

Top Views on Twitter

Six of the top 10 most viewed videos on Twitter were directly related to coronavirus or social distancing, like Idris Elba announcing he tested positive for COVID-19.

Twitter’s views are spread across a mix of video types, including broadcast news clips, TikTok videos, homemade videos, and animated/simulation videos.

The top Twitter videos were more about sharing news than anything else. Tweets reminded us about the upcoming US election, shared messages from political leaders about coronavirus testing, reported on spring breakers in Florida who weren’t keeping their distance, and showed us positivity from Italy.

Top Views on Giphy

Gifs are not immune to coronavirus and six of the top 10 gifs on Giphy were related to COVID-19. Primarily gifs were about washing your hands, social distancing, our collective love of toilet paper, and working from home.

Toilet Paper Oprah GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY
Work From Home GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY

The best part about the views on Giphy? They were overwhelmingly positive. If you need an uplifting message or a gentle hygiene reminder, Giphy has you covered.

A top-viewed gif on Giphy


Each social media and UGC platform has its own demographic and style, which made the top viewed videos across each site fairly different.

  • The most obvious overlap was between Instagram and Twitter. While no one video appeared in the most viewed on both platforms, there was an overlap in types of content. Both sites hosted a mix of UGC, TikTok reposts, and celebrity content. We didn’t see this same overlap when we looked at the most viewed videos for 2019.
  • Cardi B is the new face of Instagram, and both cats and turtles aren’t good at tic-tac-toe, at least not on Twitter.
  • The biggest view for music outside of TikTok reposts was Selena Gomez sharing a throwback to her Revival tour on Instagram.
  • Overall, coronavirus dominated the views in March and will likely continue to dominate in April — and possibly May — as governments extend social distancing mandates further and further.

With an abundance of ways to share thoughts online, coming together with dances, songs, and videos is a great way to feel connected to others in such an isolated time. Here’s the full list of top videos so you can watch them all.

Can’t get enough of data posts like this one?

Check out the most viewed videos on social media for 2019.

Pex Acquires Dubset Media

Rights-tech leaders join forces to bring digital copyright solutions to the music, film, and video industries

Pexeso, Inc. (Pex) is announcing its acquisition of Dubset Media Holdings. For the past three years, Pex has provided copyright search and content management tools to the largest rights holders in the music and film industries. Rights holders using Dubset’s rights management platform for music distribution on major streaming services will now have access to their catalog’s use and performance in any audio and video content across social media and user-generated content platforms.

“Dubset is a company we’ve been interested in for some time,” notes Rasty Turek, founder and CEO of Pex.

“There are very few companies in the music business that have successfully licensed as much catalog as Dubset, and the music rights database they’ve built is massive and rare. Our technology’s scale and speed enables broad market access by all rights holders to our rights management and analytics services, built on top of the 20 billion video and audio files in our indexed database. We feel this will prove to be a game-changing combination.”

Pex is the only company capable of providing music, film, video, consumer brands, and enterprise companies an accurate and complete picture of what, where, and how much of their copyrighted works are being distributed and consumed across all of the world’s leading digital platforms.

“The distribution of digital media via social media has outpaced rights holders’ abilities to track, license, and manage their audio and video assets,” said Bob Barbiere, formerly of Dubset, now SVP Digital Rights at Pex.

“Dubset was timely and successful in filling an industry need around identification and licensing of music in mixes and remixes. This acquisition will immediately expand rights holders’ abilities to locate, protect, and monetize use of their catalog within any form of music or video currently being shared on any of the world’s largest UGC and social media sites.”

In addition to the digital rights services and data Pex now offers to rights holders, the company has announced its best-in-class copyright compliance solution, Attribution Engine. Attribution Engine identifies, licenses, and administers royalties for content across a rapidly shifting international copyright landscape.

Platforms can seamlessly “plug in” Attribution Engine and be assured they have a complete copyright control solution. Attribution Engine mitigates significant copyright liability, meeting or exceeding all requirements contained within Article 17 of the new EU Copyright Directive, which promises to close the value gap between content creators and platforms.

Read more about Attribution Engine and our acquisition of Dubset in this TechCrunch exclusive.