As preparation for its forthcoming music streaming service, YouTube is going to implement some slightly drastic changes to the way people encounter ads when watching music videos.
Basically, there'll be more ads in those type of videos going forward, perhaps as a way to irk users into paying for a subscription.
Furthermore, as Bloomberg reports, those who already use YouTube as their de facto music player are about to encounter more ads, according to the company's global head of music, Lyor Cohen.
Silencing The Noise
For YouTube, the move is more than encouraging users to subscribe. It's also a way to silence the "noise" around YouTube's purported harm to the music industry. Music companies and record labels have long criticized the platform for publishing videos that violate copyright and failing to compensate artists and record companies for their work.
YouTube Streaming Service
Last year, YouTube raked in $10 billion in revenue just from advertising and stands to make more if it's successful in attracting new subscribers. The competition is tough, however. The music streaming landscape is dominated by Spotify and Apple Music, with tens of millions of subscribers apiece. At least YouTube doesn't have to worry about branding because nearly everyone goes to YouTube already for playing music. The difficult part is getting them to shell out money for a subscription.
In the past, YouTube has tried to do a similar move, though such efforts haven't reaped any significant gains. But this time, says Cohen, who joined YouTube in 2016, thus predating YouTube's previous efforts with music — it'll be different. The new music streaming service, which apparently Google employees are using now, will "frustrate and seduce" YouTube's free users. It'll have exclusive videos, playlists, and other similar offerings that'll entice music fans.
"There's a lot more people in our funnel that we can frustrate and seduce to become subscribers," Cohen said. "Once we do that, trust me, all that noise will be gone and articles people write about that noise will be gone."
YouTube has already been funding music videos, taking fans behind-the-scenes with artists such as Camila Cabello and G-Eazy. The new service may be called YouTube Remix, but nothing is set in stone. Cohen hasn't shared details on pricing and release date yet, but it's likely to cost the same as a Spotify or Apple Music subscription.
Would It Really Be A Good Idea To Show More Ads?
Competition is always good for an industry, but it's easy to imagine for YouTube's approach — which is to bombard users with ads until they're annoyed — not to sit well with a lot of people. After all, there's no certainty that once annoyed, they'll finally pay for YouTube's streaming service. They might just go for the alternatives out of sheer annoyance with YouTube's would-be ad practice.