Yesterday, Youtube announced what many of us have been hearing for a while – a music streaming servic called Youtube Music Key that ties in both music videos via Youtube, and audio tracks from Google Play Music.
I’m currently a user of Spotify, and I like the interface, the quality of the music when downloaded to your mobile device, and the speed of new releases to the Spotify service. However, when the YouTube service becomes available, it may become time to review this current subscription.
I love music videos, but I grow especially impatient with waiting for ads to go by so I can either skip them after the mandatory time or wait for until the short ad finishes before a music video starts. For a $9.99 monthly fee, I will be able to watch music videos with no ads, as well as use Google Music All Access, which includes offline consumption for both Youtube and Google Music.
It’s no secret that Youtube is the place to enjoy new music – a lot of my friends admit to having Youtube running in the background on their computer while they work, or even streaming playlists via bluetooth in the car. But the jarring interruption of ads can, and does make the experience less than satisfactory. I’d happily pay for the privilege of doing away with advertisements for music and music video consumption.
This is one reason that Spotify has been a solid service for me is the ease of use, from creating playlists, finding playlist created by others, and other plugins that help me track artists that I like. For example, the Swarm app for Spotify scans your playlists and creates a timeline of releases up to the current day of any artists in your playlists, so you never miss out on new music from bands you love.
Of course, from a Spotify perspective, the service has been in the news for the last couple of weeks for all the wrong reasons, with Taylor Swift pulling her entire catalogue from Spotify. Her biggest gripe appears to be the way her music catalogue is available to anyone on Spotify, regardless of what tier, as her music is still available on the premium levels of other subscription services.
One service that Spotify does not have is video, and Youtube has become the default place for marketing and exposing new songs through music videos that trend and/or become viral. Youtube’s business model for the music category seems to be flipping the mentality of Youtube as a marketing platform, and turning it into a streaming service as an end point, not a beginning.
For a user like me, it makes complete sense. Google Play Music is a strong streaming service, and to have that bundled with a Youtube service that allows me to save videos for offline viewing, no ads, and background playback, all for the one price will be hard to refuse.
This development is yet another nail in the coffin of traditional music distribution paradigms. Whether or not it becomes viable in the long run for both the service and for rights holders will be watched very carefully.