YouTube Announces a Music Subscription Service — for the 14th Time

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Expectations are fever-pitched for YouTube’s upcoming music subscription service!  Just pretend that you haven’t read this article before.

It’s official.  Again.

At SXSW, YouTube’s Global Head of Music, Lyor Cohen, briefly spoke about YouTube’s plans for a music subscription service during a keynote address.  That is, in-between some not-so-humble bragging and explanations of why he’s so innovative.

Actually, expectations were high that YouTube’s new music subscription service would be launched at SXSW.  That didn’t happen, but hey.  According to Cohen, YouTube’s subscription play will be “the best of Google Play Music’s context server” and YouTube’s “breadth and depth of catalog.”

Blend the two together, and… joila!  

Strangely — or, sadly — YouTube is a new player in the music subscription service.  Other music subscription service players like Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, and Apple Music have amassed more than a hundred million paying subscribers between them.  And make that hundreds of millions if you count Amazon Prime Music a certain way.

Actually, YouTube already had (or, has) a music subscription service called YouTube Red.  But that turned out to be a false positive, with YouTube somehow steering that paid platform in another direction.

 So, is YouTube’s brand-new attempt just fluff?

Probably.  Placating angry content owners is complicated.  But according to Cohen, “the industry is going to return and grow by ads and subscriptions.”  Then stating the obvious: “There are plenty of leaned-in listeners that are willing to pay.”

But are YouTube people really ‘willing to pay’?  “We are going to convert them to paid subscribers,” Cohen promised.  “We’re making an enormous investment to launch a product that you will be proud of.”

Sounds like a case of fume-inhalation, though Cohen talks a good game.  “The only place in the industry where you can play both in commerce and direct-to-consumer is YouTube,” Cohen stated.  “Let’s use it.”

In terms of competitive advantage, Cohen also believes that YouTube’s music subscription will do better, because of the power of Google’s algorithms.

94% of 18-24 Year Olds Use YouTube On a Regular Basis

What’s harder to dispute is the sheer volume of YouTube users.  Indeed, everything and anything is on YouTube, whether it’s an album, video, or live-streamed content.

Just that nobody’s paying for it.



12 Responses

  1. Sound Legends

    Great Article! Speaking of, have you heard of Sound Legends? It basically helps take your music career to the next level – legendary status. Sound Legends is an online music service with a complete suite of easy-to-use tools and resources to help independent artists achieve legendary status. They even help independent artists get their music copyrighted, which is the ultimate game changer.

    • Jane

      Copyright it yourself at There’s plenty of vids to show you how. As you would be aware there’s no money to be made in streaming & no-one pays for a download or a cd for that matter any more. Sorry to be negative but that’s the way it is.

      • Anonymous

        Indeed, scammers like that should just be deleted.

    • Caroler J

      I know Sound Legends. Its a complete waste of money and, more importantly, money. Stay away!

    • Dustin Diamond

      Huh? Help get music copyrighted? If Sound Legends knew anything about the music business you would know that music is copyrighted the moment the work is created and fixed in a tangible form – whether its recorded music or a composition (notes & lyrics).

      If you’re just inartfully talking about copyright registration, that is a total DIY. Very simple to do.

      BTW – the primary benefit of registering is that the work may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney’s fees in successful litigation – it will have zero impact on your career and definitely not a “game changer”.

      Writing, recording, and playing great music is the only game changer. Anyone who tries to sell you a get rich quick scheme in the music business is only in it for themselves.

    • Sound Legends Sounds like a Scam

      Sound Legends is total crap.

      • Anonymous

        Sound legends is one of the best ways to get your music on all platforms

      • Anonymous

        It’s really not a scam! New Artist can distribute one song for free! I recommend

  2. Purpose-Driven

    Sound Legends: destroyed by a comment section.

  3. Emily

    Sound legends is such a cool company! I think people should check it out

  4. Edwin

    If your an musician or artist of any genre you should join sound legends! It’s the new movement

    • Jose

      Sound legends is the new wave in the music industry! Obviously people talking down on it are just sour