How much of YouTube’s focus is on music? Clearly not much.
Listening to music on YouTube is incredibly frustrating. The sound quality is horrible. Mostly because the fan uploaded videos have been compressed multiple times over. And were uploaded years ago before YouTube offered HD. Even official music videos sound awful unless the HD option is selected – which is impossible on a phone.
There is no organization. No information. No albums.
Sure, YouTube is the number one streaming service on the internet NOW. But will it be in 3 years?
I doubt it.
It’s been around longer than Spotify, Beats, SoundCloud and every other streaming service. People are comfortable with it.
Today it’s easy to find music on YouTube. Instantly. Most songs are on YouTube. But not all.
And, it’s a headache to find the track you want. Maybe you don’t want the studio version. Maybe you want the 1985 live release.
It’s why so many left the illegal P2P sites for iTunes. iTunes offered a headache-less alternative at a reasonable price. People will pay for convenience.
Sure, YouTube is the go to music streaming service for kids. Any parent can attest to this.
But not for music lovers.
College kids listen to Pandora while studying. It’s passive. And easy.
Extended listening on YouTube is not easy. You can’t just turn it on and go like you can Pandora or Spotify or Beats or SoundCloud.
You can make playlists, sure, but that takes effort.
Why is terrestrial radio still so strong? Because it takes zero effort to turn it on in the car. No plugging in the iPhone. No scrolling through songs while weaving through traffic. Just turn it on. Select a favorite station and go.
But cars are integrating Pandora and Spotify. Pandora started early and has contracts with over 16 car companies.
Satellite radio has been in cars for some time now. But only the elders have adopted it because of the paywall. And, It’s just not cool.
Don’t give me a disgusting image of your hard on for Howard Stern, you grandpa. Howard Stern is ‘cool’ for the plus 40 crowd. But they’re out of touch. They don’t affect change. You want change? You want to see the future? You look to the youth.
Pandora is cool. Spotify is cool.
When there were no alternatives to terrestrial radio, we accepted it. We channel surfed until we found something bearable for rush hour.
But with Pandora and Spotify making active advances in the auto industry, this is all going to change.
And car companies will not similarly integrate YouTube – unless they want a cornucopia of lawsuits. “No officer I wasn’t watching Miley ride the wrecking ball, I just wanted to hear the song!” “Step out of the car son.”
Most new cars come with USB and Aux inputs. It’s easy to hook up the phone and stream from any service – including YouTube. So most people are going about it this way. Right now.
However, once every new car comes equipped with Pandora and Spotify, YouTube will lose it’s music streaming dominance.
There is a tipping point coming in the near future for music streaming services. The kids will jump on board. They will soon choose Spotify or Beats over YouTube. Every time. Which service will win out? Time will tell. But YouTube is finished. At least in the musical sphere.
Just you wait.
Photo is by mauritsonline from Flickr and used with the Creative Commons License.
Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of Ari’s Take. His record release show is Saturday March 29th at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. Get tickets here. Listen to his new single here. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake