You can learn a lot about a web site by peeking below the hood of its internal site search. And, based on Hitwise data out today, YouTube is a surrogate music video search engine.
Hitwise research suggests that 72% of the site’s Top 50 search terms from December 2008 are music-related — from L’il Wayne to Beyoncé, to song titles like “Womanizer” and “Heartless.”
That YouTube leans heavy toward music shouldn’t be a surprise. Universal Music’s channel is the most popular on the site, with 3.3 billion views, and seven of the top ten channels are music-related. We’ve reported previously that music is a strong monetization opportunity for YouTube — from affiliate links to formal partnerships, like the one that’s making money both for Google and Universal Music.