YouTube announces music streaming service to rival Spotify

17 May 2018

YouTube app on mobile. Image: Jinna Sardsongvit/Shutterstock

YouTube relaunches a paid premium music streaming product.

YouTube is changing its music services up, as was rumoured to be the case earlier this year. YouTube Music is being relaunched as a Spotify and Apple Music rival, with membership costing $10 per month.

Out with the old

The company’s paywalled video arm, YouTube Red, will transform into YouTube Premium – with a small price increase to $12 monthly. Those who are currently Red subscribers still only have to pay $10 per month.

Google Play Music – the subscription service from the platform’s parent company – will be phased out, with the company saying gaps between the new product and the Google offering will be closed in the coming weeks.

Like Spotify and other streaming services, it will be available free with advertising, but a blogpost announcing the new service was unclear in terms of the features available to account holders who don’t want to fork out the cash every month. Listening to music offline will also be available.

“YouTube in general is where most music is consumed. If there was ever a company that could build a successful subscription business, it would be YouTube,” said the company’s global head of music, Lyor Cohen.

A chequered history

In 2014, YouTube Music Key was launched but never went beyond a small-scale test period. The original Music and Red were both launched in 2015.

Elias Roman, product manager at the company, said: “The days of jumping back and forth between multiple music apps and YouTube are over.”

The main selling point from the Google-owned platform’s perspective is the availability of thousands of playlists, covers, music videos and remixes as well as the official versions of songs. The app will also recommend new listening based on search history, activity and location.

YouTube will launch the revamped music streaming service on 22 May in the US, South Korea, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, followed by a further 14 countries in the following weeks, including Ireland, Germany, Russia and the UK.

While Spotify and Apple Music have tens of millions of paying subscribers and their own unique selling points, the advent of a new rival with the power of Google behind it could see things change in terms of the music streaming market.

YouTube app on mobile. Image: Jinna Sardsongvit/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects