YouTube is taking the reins for Google’s music strategy — and it’s soft launching on Tuesday.
Google’s music strategy has been fractured and confusing and falling behind for years, with Google Play Music being treated like an orange-haired stepchild, YouTube Music being ignored by some users and unheard of by the rest, and YouTube being a place where people of all kinds come to listen to music — both legitimately uploaded and not-so-much.
Google’s been amassing a new team to take on the music industry, from streaming competitors like Spotify to the record labels that control what music can appear on what platforms and how.
We’ve been waiting months for the shoe to drop and Google to reveal its new strategy. And thanks to Bob Lefsetz posting a rambling preview, we’re don’t have to wait much longer.
We’re still digging through the post, but the long and the short of it is:
- YouTube Music is getting an overhaul, which an emphasis on personalization. YouTube Music will be able to leverage your YouTube viewing history and listening habits to offer different types of music based on where you are, what you’re doing, and what your preferences are.
- New emphasis will be placed on new releases. If you like an artist or genre, YouTube Music will put their new singles and albums right on your homepage, so you don’t find out about Daughtry’s new single months after it came out like me.
- YouTube Music already has Google Assistant integration, but Lefsetz’s demo makes it sound like it’s been put on steroids.
- The new YouTube Music app is soft-launching on Tuesday, “and then spread slowly thereafter.” What timeline that means for the desktop experience overhaul, I have no idea.
Then we get to the important bits: what these changes mean for the regular YouTube experience. The current YouTube Red offerings — getting rid of all the ads, access to YouTube’s Original shows like Cobra Kai, offline and background playback — are going to be a $2 add-on on top of the required $10/month YouTube Music subscription.
Rumors have circulated that Google Play Music — Google’s original music offering and the mechanism for their 50,000 song music locker and music purchases — will be killed off by the end of this year in favor of the new service. However, the leak from Lefsetz doesn’t mention Play Music anywhere, so we’ll have to wait for the official announcement from Google on its future.
We also have no mention of family plan pricing anywhere yet, nor if any current YouTube Red subscribers will get grandfathered into the new “YouTube Premium” system under their current $10 price — or $8 if you’ve been a Google Play Music subscriber since its launch five years ago. There’s a lot we still need to hear, but the genie’s out of the bottle now…
In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the upcoming changes to YouTube Music?