Google subsidiary YouTube is rolling out a new service, YouTube Music, in a bid to take on Spotify and Apple Music. Also, the company is rolling out an ad-free version of the service – dubbed as YouTube Music Premium for – $10 per month.
In a blog post, Elias Roman, YouTube’s product manager, said: “YouTube Music is a new music streaming service made for music: official songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist radio plus YouTube’s tremendous catalog of remixes, live performances, covers and music videos that you can’t find anywhere else – all simply organised and personalized.”
Further, the company said that it would work to do away with the differences between its services so that Google Play Music members do not miss the features that they have grown accustomed to like the cloud-based MP3 storage locker.
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On Tuesday, the new service was rolled out in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea. In the coming weeks, YouTube Music will be launched in France, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, Norway, Russia, and the UK.
Roman suggested that Google Play Music subscribers would get the YouTube Music Premium membership as a part of their subscription every month. Also, the subscribers would be able to access all their purchased music, uploads and playlists in Google Play Music.
Nothing much has changed on the designing front for YouTube Music. The streaming service has kept the layout the same with Home, Trending and Library located on the bottom bar. Also, recently updated, the Now Playing screen, has also been included in the service. One of the few differences is in the form of sections like New Releases, Your favorites and Feel-good favorites that feature carousels and albums.
Also, the homescreen will be updated throughout the day for better location-based discovery and listening history. The search functionality in the service is inspired by Google Home and assistant in parts as users would be able to search the songs by lyrics and even descriptions. Apart from the official songs, users can scroll thousands of playlists, artists, radio, covers, remixes and live versions. For the existing Android and iOS clients, there would also be a “brand new desktop player” for YouTube Music.
The Google-owned company will also be coming up with a service named YouTube Premium in a bid to extend the features of YouTube Music Premium beyond the music app. YouTube Premium is basically the new name of the YouTube Red subscription service. YouTube Premium would be ad-free, and the users would need to pay two dollars extra over what they shell out for YouTube Music Premium.
By paying $11.99 per month, the users can also access YouTube Originals and other content. There is good news for the existing Red subscribers, they can come onboard for just $9.99 per month.
YouTube has succeeded in retaining its crown despite the controversies that the service was involved in lately. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki recently revealed that a whopping 1.8 billion registered users are now watching videos on the site every month (excluding those who view content without logging in). Last year, the number was 1.5 billion viewers.
During the YouTube Brandcast event, Wojcicki also talked about some of the key moments in YouTube’s history. According to the company, Despacito became the first video in YouTube’s history to pass 5 billion views last month and Beyonce’s record breaking livestream from Coachella was viewed by more than 41 million users.
Wojcicki also talked about the challenges faced by YouTube, including the growing buzz around conspiracy theory videos on the site and inappropriate kids’ videos. “This is the impact of an open platform: it brings the world together in ways that were just not possible before. But we’ve also seen that with openness comes challenges, as some have tried to take advantage of our services,” the CEO said.
Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s head of music, believes that YouTube, in general, is the place where most music is consumed, and if any company could build a successful subscription business, it has to be YouTube. The platform, however, has an inconsistent track record when it comes to music subscription.
Back in 2014, YouTube Music Key was launched. It was a subscription service that failed to grow beyond the invite-only crowd of testers. Then in 2015, YouTube Music came into existence followed by Red, a $10 per month subscription service devoid of all the ads and more original content. Now, with the revamped YouTube Music and YouTube Music Premium, the company will be hoping to taste success with the music subscription service.