The past several months have been rife with rumors about Google's plans to revamp its music service as a way to compete more aggressively with Spotify and Apple Music, currently the towering figures of music streaming.
Revamped YouTube Music Coming Very Soon
A new report pegs the launch of Google's revamped YouTube Music for next week, with YouTube Red and other video features to be replaced with a new "Premium" tier service. Recode detailed the new music service on May 16, claiming it'll be "functionally the same" as the current ones. In addition, it will have personalized playlist based on the user's YouTube history. This will eventually replace Play Music, but the pricing will remain at $10 a month.
On the other hand, the new YouTube Premium tier, which bundles Music and the company's original lineup and ad-free viewing, will set back subscribers $12 a month, marking a $2 price bump from YouTube Red's current price.
In a briefing this week, the company promised it will be closing the gaps between Play Music and YouTube Red over the next month, so Google Play Music users don't lose features they've grown accustomed to.
YouTube remains the biggest video site on the internet, with over 1.8 billion accounts watching each month. Much of that viewing, as CNET notes, is people listening to music, as music videos consistently rank among the most popular clips on the platform. In the past several years YouTube has become one of the primary sources for listening to music, and also a prime venue where artists can debut their newest singles and videos. On paper, this should put YouTube at an advantage when it comes to expanding its user base. The challenge is figuring out how to turn those people into paying subscribers.
Beating Its Rivals
YouTube never reveals just how many people use YouTube Music or YouTube Red, but its services have largely operated behind the dominance of Spotify, which boasts 75 million paying users, and Apple Music, which is steadily catching Spotify's pace in terms of growth. The new YouTube Music service is yet another attempt to run parallel to, if not outperform, its rivals.
Reports say the app will launch May 22 in the United States, South Korea, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. Fourteen other countries will get it in the following weeks.