If you thought YouTube royalties were a disaster now, just wait until November. According to a top-level announcement made by the company, YouTube will be enabling offline video access in just a matter of weeks, similar to the way that Spotify offers offline, cached access today.
The key difference is that ‘YouTube offline’ will only be a temporary thrill: after 48 hours the download goes poof. But it still raises all sorts of complicated rights scenarios in music, especially since limited offline access basically means ‘conditional download‘.
This seems like a job for the recently-acquired Rightsflow, a specialist in mechanical download licenses that Google plucked for an estimated $30 million.
Sounds like an added thrill for viewers, especially during those boring, crowded commute periods when there’s really nothing to pay attention to. “This upcoming feature will allow people to add videos to their device to watch for a short period when an internet connection is unavailable,” YouTube posted on its YTCreators blog.
“So your fans’ ability to enjoy your videos no longer has to be interrupted by something as commonplace as a morning commute.”
(1) Users can pre-select videos for offline access later, though offline access will disappear after 48 hours.
(2) Offline content will still include ads.
(3) Available across iOS and Android mobile devices, at least initially.
(4) Content owners can opt-out of the offline program.
Separately, YouTube is also preparing its first-ever YouTube Music Awards in early November, according to a source with knowledge of the plans. Spike Jonze is slated to host and present. We have no idea what the categories will be, but expect a few wild, anti-VMA style thrills.