YouTube Red Declares Streaming Price War…

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In the music streaming market, there is a growing trend of streaming services reviewing their price points, re-looking at the timeframe of free trials, and changing the cost of those teaser periods. YouTube Red is jumping on this bandwagon by offering users a three-month trial for just 99 cents. This is one of the sweetest offers in the market, aimed at spiking numbers and hopefully rolling music fans into paying accounts

The logic behind this move is simple. With the rise of more and more streaming platforms, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for those services to stand out and gain significant market share. In a bid to compete successfully and outweigh the competition, these services are running promotional campaigns in order to entice new users and hook subscribers from competing services.

Price is one deadly weapon, perhaps too deadly for artists. Spotify, for instance, is currently running the same offer as YouTube Red, with a three-month trial for 99 cents. Apple Music gives users a 3-month free trial, while Tidal and SoundCloud Go both offer users a free taster month. All are hoping that these promotions will surge subscriber numbers, and once the trial ends, the aim is for the users to continue to subscribe and start to pay for the service.

Since YouTube Red launched in October of last year, there have been no reports regarding paying subscriber numbers. In the industry, it hasn’t been at the forefront of conversations. However, the Red service has some cool features for its users that will also offer an edge. Red allows fans to watch videos and listen to music without ads and enables users to listen to music in the background whilst exploring other options on their mobile devices.

Whilst the 99-cent trial will most likely create a surge in new sign-ups, getting users to pay the $9.99 a month is another question entirely. YouTube Red is banking on the fact that once users get a taste of their platform without ads, they will not want to go back to a free version with ads or switch to a competing service. However, as the competition is fierce, there is no guarantee that users will stick around.

It’s worth noting that while this strategy may be great for consumers, it may not be so great for artists. Music streaming services have come under fire in recent years for their low payouts to artists. The 99-cent trial period may be great for attracting new subscribers, but it may also lead to artists receiving even smaller payments for their work.

In conclusion, YouTube Red’s 99-cent trial is just one of many promotional campaigns being run by music streaming services. While it may be a great deal for consumers, the long-term success of these services depends on their ability to retain subscribers and pay artists fairly. It remains to be seen whether this strategy will work for YouTube Red or if it will result in a race to the bottom for all streaming services.

(Image by Rego Korosi, Creative Commons, Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic, cc by-sa 2.0)

12 Responses

  1. L. Bart

    Some time ago I got the impression that YouTube Red had died quietly.

    • Anonymous

      That had to happen.

      Everybody’s got ad-free YouTube videos for free already, thanks to Adblock Plus.

      Why pay for it…

  2. Fine

    If they want to be a digital penny club bargain bin, they can get the releases with holes in ’em.

  3. Anonymous

    Rumor tells that YouTubeRed is merging with ad free and subscriptions go up to $29.99

  4. Anonymous

    “Is this a raise to the bottom?”

    We all make typo’s 24/7, but this is pretty funny. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      It’s not a race to the bottom, either.

      It’s a garage sale.

  5. Anonymous

    “Red allows fans to watch videos and listen to music without ads”

    What ads?

  6. Realtalk

    YouTube pays shit for artists their royalties rate is not even half of what Spotifies pays. Better of doing nude videos for Redtube then trying to make money with music in this Youtube Red piece of crap. Stick your 4 Billion profit up your ass bunch of assholes. If you are an artist please don’t ever release your music though YouTube.

  7. so

    YouTube Red is an empty gesture conceived and implemented in an attempt to deflect some of the heat that YouTube rightly receives from the music industry. No numbers have ever been released because it’s clear their subscriber base, especially as a percentage of YouTube’s total user base, is practically nonexistent (like their per-play rate). Along with the number paid out to rightsholders over the years, they should break out the percentages (DMN story showed 93% of plays come from 1% of videos) and release the total number of streams alongside of the sum paid, so we can draw attention to the rate paid, which is about 1/5th, often less, of what Spotify pays. If you think Spotify is a problem, what then is YouTube? And on YouTube, rightsholders have the bonus feature of having little to no control over whether / how / when their work appears. This is not 2007.

    • Anonymous

      “No numbers have ever been released because it’s clear their subscriber base, especially as a percentage of YouTube’s total user base, is practically nonexistent”

      Indeed — exactly as nonexistent as YouTube Music Key, if anybody remembers that, haha.

      This is a last desperate attempt so they can go to the industry and say, ‘we tried.’

  8. ZigZag

    At least Beatport could see that the streaming space was becoming too crowded and pulled out of it ..

  9. Jim

    That google assistant mini pricing was a good marketing strategy. Letting everybody listen to all their music and then BAM no more unless you pay them their 10.00 a month. WHAT A SCAM.