Online streaming is a major industry now. As entertainment consumption moves entirely to the mobile screen, the big daddies of tech are going all out to leverage the trend. In the latest, YouTube is reportedly planning to roll out its own subscription-based music streaming service to rival Spotify — the leading player in the segment — and Apple Music. Warner Music Group, one of the top three music labels in the world, is already on board, and the service could launch as early as March 2018, Bloomberg reported.
YouTube is also in talks with Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Merlin, a consortium of independent labels, the report added. Music is one of the most popular genres on YouTube, drawing over a billion users every month. And Google is acutely aware of that. In 2014, it tried minting the popularity of music on YouTube by introducing YouTube Music Key that allowed subscribers to watch ad-free music videos. That later piloted to YouTube, which allows ad-free viewing of all videos to those paying for the service. But YouTube has been struggling to extract dollars out of consumers. Red has only 1.5 million users in more than a year of its launch.
Hence, a dedicated paid-for music streaming service is YouTube’s third attempt to gain a foothold in the music market that witnessed a resurgence fueled riding on streaming services like Spotify, Tidal, and of course, Apple Music. Tidal, which is only three years old, notched up double the number of users that YouTube Red in the first year. Spotify, meanwhile, boasts of over 60 million paying subscribers and has doubled it user-base in less than two years. In October, Microsoft shut down its own Groove music service and joined hands with Spotify. It asked its customers to transfer all their content and playlists on Groove to Spotify.
Hence, YouTube Remix — as the service is being referred to internally — has its task cut out. It has been holding negotiations with several audio labels for year now, and has also hired former Warner Music executive Lyor Cohen to lead its operations in this segment. It has even accommodated many Google Play Music employees to work on the upcoming service. Google Play Music, which launched in 2011, is pretty much a failed affair given how its years have coincided with the rise of Spotify and Apple Music (which has nearly 30 million subscribers). But YouTube Remix could just be the turning point!