According to Billboard, YouTube is readying a new on-demand music service. Google has not confirmed the report and declined to comment.
Citing people “familiar with the plans,” Billboard reports that there will be a free version and a paid version of the new YouTube music service. But wait, doesn’t Google already have a subscription music service? Yes, it’s Google Music/All Access and costs $9.99 per month. It was introduced at Google I/O earlier this year and offers unlimited skips and curated content.
And that’s precisely what enables this new YouTube offering. Google has already secured most if not all of the content licenses it needs to launch the new service.
So what would be the major difference between the Google and YouTube on-demand music products? As you might expect: video.
Music videos will come with the YouTube version. Billboard says that the paid version of YouTube Music (or whatever it will be called) will also likely to be ad free and permit offline listening/viewing as well.
The article speculates that the free version of the service is likely to have a range of attractive features to enable Google to build a large audience and create new ad inventory:
The free tier is likely to be unlimited, on-demand access to full tracks on all platforms, including mobile, said several people who have been briefed on the proposed service. In that sense, the paid tier is more of a “soft sell” as YouTube’s primary goal is to continue to amass ears and eyes to its mobile platform to sell ads.
Subscriptions and subscription revenue may not be the primary objective of YouTube Music, compared with Google Music. Furthermore, given that there’s so much free music content on YouTube already, upselling younger users into a subscription product may prove challenging.
But with the hook of video (which will also be optimized for mobile devices) a free, more structured YouTube music service might prove to be quite popular.