It seems YouTube is full speed ahead toward launching its own music streaming service a la Apple Music and Spotify.
The video-streaming site just signed a deal with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment concerning royalties and copyrighted material. The deal reportedly sets up better royalty rates for music rights holders and complies with improved monitoring of content uploaded by YouTube users.
YouTube Lands Landmark Music Deals
The deal follows two years of tumultuous negotiations, as Bloomberg reports. The third label, Warner Music Group, signed a deal with YouTube earlier this month. Universal Music Group said its deal with YouTube will provide artists with more flexibility and better royalty profits. Sony, meanwhile, declined to comment.
"This agreement means we can drive more value to the industry, break and support more artists, and deliver an incredible music experience to fans around the world," said YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in a statement.
The deals pave the way for YouTube to launch a paid music streaming service next year, according to Bloomberg.
Why This Makes Sense For YouTube
YouTube is already one of the most common ways to listen to music for different people around the globe — it's where artists debut their music videos, for instance, some of which go on to reap billions of views each. There's an audience, that's for sure, but whether they're willing to drop down cash for a paid service remains to be seen.
The company hopes to convert the millions of people who frequent the site to listen to music for free into paying subscribers. Yes, the field YouTube is attempting to penetrate seems pretty much crowded, given the handful of streaming services available, but if YouTube is successful in its endeavor, it could very well have a chance on surpassing Spotify's 60 million subscriber count given its humongous traffic and user base.
The deals are a turning point for YouTube, who's had a rocky relationship with music publishers in the past. It has received criticism for insufficiently compensating music rights holders what they should be paid and for letting copyrighted material slip through the cracks without prompt action.
The forthcoming music service reportedly integrate elements from YouTube Red and Google Play Music, its parent company's own paid service. It's supposed to launch in March 2018, but YouTube hasn't made any firm announcements on the release date. Perhaps the site is still ironing out last-round negotiations, including a deal with Vevo in 2018, as Bloomberg points out.
What do you think of a paid music subscription service based on YouTube? Would you be willing to try it? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!