Google does not waive its search for you to pay for music. That's the main conclusion of YouTube's announcement on Thursday, a new conception of how music works on YouTube. The new streaming service will come in two forms: a free level called YouTube Music and a level of $ 10 per month called YouTube Music Premium, and is scheduled to debut on May 22 in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea.
This is the fourth attempt of this decade in which Google tries to do a work of transmission of paid music. Google Play Music was launched in 2011 and, although it found a specialized audience over the years, never really challenged Spotify (or later, Apple Music), and is now about to join the newly announced YouTube Music service. In 2014, Google created YouTube Music Key, which offered videos without advertising and listened in the background for a subscription fee, but never took off in any meaningful way. You may start to pick up a topic here.
In 2015, YouTube announced the YouTube Music app: a company is only given so many names for a music service. The application was simply a mobile version of YouTube, where you could remove ads and enable background listening with a subscription to YouTube Red. To avoid spoiling anything, paid application YouTube Music was not a resounding success either.
Beyond a history of repeated errors, the biggest problem faced by YouTube Music (Edition 2018) is a tougher competition in the space of music transmission. Apple has just announced that its music service has 50 million subscribers, Spotify reached 75 million subscribers in May with a total user base of 170 million, and Amazon Music continues to grow silently through Alexa-enabled devices.
What will distinguish YouTube? Music of the competition? T. Jay Fowler, director of product management at YouTube, told Pitchfork that the service would offer a "deeply personalized experience" with the help of the Google Assistant. That sounds very similar to the playlists recommended by Spotify that change according to the time of day. However, the real advantage of YouTube Music may not be the AI, but the content of a decade on the platform, whether covers, concert footage or remixes, that Apple Music and Spotify can not match. The only problem is that users have become accustomed to this content being free since the beginning of YouTube.
The oppressive counterpoint of YouTube is that, with more than 1,500 million users on the platform, it's just about getting some people, not everyone, to pay to listen. Lyor Cohen, YouTube's global music director, said earlier this year: "There are many more people in our funnel that we can frustrate and seduce to become subscribers."
The new YouTube Music will not open to the public until May 22. We have not yet tested the service by ourselves, and it is certainly possible that Google has planned more surprises, such as exclusive keys to the Tidal, or some feature that we do not yet know. But, for now, the service sounds more like a formalized way to push existing users to pay for music or make them suffer through an endless stream of ads. The service will be launched next week, but it seems that a new attempt to force consumers to a product that they have repeatedly made clear is not desired. .