Coming Soon: YouTube Offline Access…


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.”


Preliminary Details:

(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.

More ahead.


19 Responses

  1. Bandit

    This is a good thing. Of course I am assuming youTube’s app will include software that keeps track of the number of plays. I know if I was an advertiser I would want to know these numbers. If they can track number of plays then in theory they can pay rights holders also.

    and it’s about time youTube started doing this, people have already been using freely available software to download and save material for offline use.

    • Visitor

      This simply means that YouTube is NOT a streaming service, but rather a download one. Which then opens a whole nutha can of worms…

      • Visitor

        Yes, this is their first mistake ever — and an epic one at that.

        What makes them think any content owner would participate in this?

  2. Visitor

    “Content owners can opt-out of the offline program.”

    Yup, otherwise it would’ve been piracy.

  3. Visitor

    “Offline content will still include ads.”

    So Google will (obviously) make money from offline content.

    Wonder if that goes for the content owners, too…

  4. Visitor

    “This upcoming feature will allow people to add videos to their device to watch for a short period”

    …of 48 hours.

  5. Visitor

    Seems like a good idea to me. If it’s still running your advertising then you’re increasing your potential advertising revenue by improving access to your content.

    • Visitor

      “If it’s still running your advertising then you’re increasing your potential advertising revenue”

      Says who?

  6. Yves Villeneuve

    This should increase profitability and better payouts to content providers.

  7. It was about time

    It was about time for Youtube, the biggest free music streaming service to allow its users to listen to free music even when they are offline. I think many people will cancel their membership on paying music streaming services, since they will have so much music to listen to and download for free. It was also unacceptable the fact that the biggest free music streaming service in the world didn’t have its own Music Charts. Great job, YouTube/Google!

    • Visitor

      It all depends on how content providers are paid for offline access to their property.

      If they’re not paid, they can shut down YouTube any day.

      • Tune Hunter

        Content providers (not the owners) are cluless how to deal with YouTube.

        Productive and profitable to both sides proposals will be always accepted by cash loving Google.

        For the moment we have no proposals or absurd, give it all – take nothing, proposals. Veevoo is one of them!

  8. Tune Hunter

    YouTube equals to free of charge whorehouse where pimps like Shazam bring freeloaders to satisfy their music desires.
    The power of Google’s legal department gives little or no options to wimpy labels and RIAA.
    Creation of Vevo and some advertising income from YouTube does not justify total access to someone’s intellectual property.
    Musicians have to wake up and start to function as a group that will demand simple and fair to all changes.
    Labels are on the wrong track and do not provide the best representation of their interests
    The most curious part is ongoing interaction between labels and YouTube delivering nothing to nobody – the rape goes on!
    It is overdue to start discuss ideas that would be much more profitable to both sides.
    YouTube should be no different than iTunes – 90 sec. free than PAY for all copy protected material.
    All new submissions intended for monetization should have an automatic conversion choice. It should not mater if it is new tune or installation video for Pergo flooring. The author should have a right to choose the price level and conversion after 10K or 50K from ad support to for sale only merchandise.
    It would allow YouTube to remain the biggest talent discovery playground and would convert it to overdue monetization machine.

    • AnAmusedGeek

      I’m puzzled since you seem to be talking about legit, creator uploaded content (‘All new submissions intended for monetization…’)

      If your unhappy with YouTube’s terms – why upload ?

      Why should anyone have the right to dictate terms to YouTube, when instead they can simply not use it ?

      • Tune Hunter

        It would be good for Google and the artist/uploader.

        Successful staff would exit free zone and enter into cash automaticaly!

        As is YouTube (with help of Google legal department) keeps the Music Industry in the open.

        • AnAmusedGeek

          Not sure I agree there…. As far as I know, YouTube isn’t a store?

          I don’t think they sell anything, but I could be mistaken…

          I’m not sure pushing them to enter a new business would get much of a welcome…

          What would the upside be for google ? 30% of the sale, like iTunes ?

          • Tune Hunter

            They do sale movies!
            My kids streamed $3.99 deal in August.
            It confirms that Google is still interested in money.
            Taking my suggestions would bring some sanity. … and YouTube would remain brilliant talent creating platform with monetization triggered in predefined moment for mutual benefit of Google and the artist.

            YouTube should become a discovery goldmine for Radio DJs which would propel new music and new talent discovery to unseen levels!
            Then we can convert radio stations to music stores and observe growth of Digital Music Industry to 100 billions / year.

          • AnAmusedGeek

            Huh – I knew they were talking about some pay channel stuff, but I i didn’t know they actually sell/rent stuff too..

            Could be interesting then… A second revenue stream certainly wouldn’t hurt youtube