YouTube has big plans for a paid music-streaming service

8 Dec 2017

Could YouTube produce a service to rival Spotify? Image: alexkich/Shutterstock

Music streaming is on the rise, and YouTube is working on its own offering.

In September, Recode reported that record labels had a bone to pick with YouTube regarding financial compensation for all the streams the video platform generates from viewers.

For the last number of years, labels have been adamant that YouTube should be paying them more as so many users listen to music on the site.

Now, according to a new report in Bloomberg, the massive platform plans to introduce a paid music-streaming service in March 2018. Anonymous sources informed Bloomberg that Warner Music Group is already on board with the initiative, and YouTube is also in discussions with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and a group of indie labels known as Merlin.

The YouTube service is reportedly going to be called ‘Remix’.

Streaming is on rise

Music streaming has been accelerating over the last number of years, with data from the Recording Industry Association of America showing that more than 30m people in the country are now paying for a subscription music service. Global trends are also mirroring this, as physical sales remain low and digital downloads take a dip.

Parent company Google is also doing some remodelling of its music service, and Variety reported that YouTube Music and Google Play teams were merged back in February of this year. Google CEO Sundar Pichai already informed investors that the tech giant had planned to merge all of its music experiences under one umbrella.

Stiff competition for the streaming market

YouTube already has an existing paid offering, YouTube Red, which was originally launched with a focus on original content, but had emphasised music streaming and the absence of advertising as of late.

There have been no details released around subscription costs but, with stiff competition from Apple Music and Spotify, the Alphabet-owned company will have to offer some compelling incentives to entice loyal users of other services away or attract people brand new to music streaming.

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