Google Play Music is a fantastic service, but it struggles to gain the userbase of Spotify for a couple of reasons. There’s no free tier to hook users, and unlike Amazon, it doesn’t offer much beyond songs.
Google has decided to change both of those things in a bid to become a fully competitive service. The rebranded YouTube Music will launch on May 22, and will eventually become the company’s main streaming app. It will have a free version, as well as a $10 subscription for ad-free listening, background listening, and downloads.
However, here’s where it gets interesting. For $12 users will get access to YouTube Red, Google’s Netflix-like service that also enables ad-free video playback. It will be rebranded as ‘YouTube Premium’ and costs $2 more than it used to.
Thankfully, existing YouTube Red subscribers won’t be charged extra. They’ll get access to YouTube Premium and music streaming for $10. It all makes a lot of sense, and it also serves to better reward music labels.
YouTube’s Music Label Problem
By integrating YouTube and Play Music, Google hopes to appease labels who say the platforms ad-driven service isn’t bringing enough revenue. This has only been compounded after a number of high profile sponsors left the platform last year, reducing the amount of high-paying ads on the platform.
With it’s optional YouTube Premium subscription and Google’s significant capital, it may be able to offer artists more compensation than Spotify. Reports about the streaming service last year suggest Warner Music Group has already signed on, with deals with Sony, Universal, and Merlin in the works.
For those tied into the Google ecosystem, a more unified service makes definitely makes sense, and it will be interesting to see if YouTube gets it right this time around. It will initially launch in the U.S, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea, with more countries coming soon.