Three streaming music services later, Google and YouTube have yet to find their groove.
Late last year, Google revealed it would launch yet another attempt to finally break into the streaming music market.
Spotify had around 60 million subscribers at the time. Apple Music was hovering at the 30 million mark. Google Play Music had nearly 7 million paying subscribers. YouTube Red had around 1.5 million.
The service, codenamed ‘YouTube Remix,’ aimed to appease disillusioned music industry executives who have long slammed YouTube’s low payouts.
Several questions immediately emerged.
Why would the search giant launch yet another streaming music service?
Would Google terminate or merge its existing Play Music service with YouTube’s newest streaming music platform?
Most importantly, how would Google convince YouTube’s 1.8 billion+ user base to pay up?
After all, the IFPI found that 35% of music lovers don’t subscribe to a streaming music service because they can already listen to free on YouTube. How would the search giant compel these consumers to subscribe?
Google soon launched YouTube’s streaming music service with two very confusing tiers.
For $9.99, you can stream millions of songs and music videos without ads on YouTube Music Premium. You can also download songs for offline listening, but not some playlists. And, you’ll have to watch ads on almost every other video on the service.
For $11.99, you can stream millions of songs and music videos as well as other videos completely ad-free on YouTube Premium. That means you can enjoy Drake’s latest hits and watch Cobra Kai without having to worry about skipping ads.
As expected, the service launched earlier this year. But it’s struggled out of the gate.
According to a study from Parks Associates, Premium no longer ranks among the top 10 streaming services in the US.
Following a major overhaul in May, YouTube Music has launched in 22 countries. Yet, the service has kept its actual subscription numbers a closely-guarded secret.
Now, in an effort to rescue its floundering streaming service, the streaming music service has launched in 7 more countries.
Starting today, users in Cuba, Colombia, Japan, Peru, Portugal, Switzerland, and Ukraine can sign-up for the service.
No word yet, however, on why people should pay up. Or, when YouTube Music will become a viable competitor to Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and others.
Unedited featured image by Roger A. Smith (CC by 2.0).
THe word is out among creatives. Google and Youtube are the biggest ripoffs around. They should be avoided like the plague. They’re fine for crappy old movies, people’s travelogs, politics docs etc, but real modern music videos should require more pay for their work, and sidestep Screwtube.
I’m a Google Play Music paid subscriber and think it’s actually a very good service, on par with Spotify, Apple, etc., especially if you’re in the Google ecosystem of Chromecast, Google Home, etc. But I have always been baffled why, from the start and with all its resources, Google didn’t do a better job of marketing and competing. I’ve been contemplating switching to Spotify, but stuck with GPM because I was curious about how YouTube Music would be. I’ve been disappointed. Simply, they jumped the gun and launched a incomplete service in an era of educated streaming customers who won’t tolerate or wait around for service to slowly add basic features that should be basic starting blocks for any service in 2018. Why did Google have its developers spend even a second on something as needless as emoji searching when there are still basic things missing. There are albums missing in its catalog (albums that are on GPM and it doesn’t appear to be a licensing issue because other albums from the same artist on the same label are there), and there isn’t even a browse-able library of playlists or new releases. I don’t want to only rely on the algorithm to guess what I’m interested in and offer me 10-15 options. I want to be able to browse the full library of playlists, filtered by genre, decade, mood, etc. I also want to browse the full library of new releases, and filter them. This is basic stuff — and also available in GPM. How has YT Music still not made this happen? Unless this changes before GPM gets shut down, I’m switching to Spotify.
Thanks Mike R for an interesting user critique.
For me I’ll stick with iTunes (for downloads) and Spotify free / YouTube free for streaming. If I take up a paid streamer it’d probably be Apple Music.