Billboard on Google subscription streaming service:

Under current plans, which could change as Google firms up its strategy, the Mountain View, Calif., technology giant will offer an ad-free subscription tier for YouTube viewers. In addition, it would offer another service from its Google Play platform, which currently sells song downloads similar to Apple’s iTunes and has a free scan-and-match locker service that lets users stream songs from their music library via any Internet connection. Subscribing to a Google Play music service would give listeners access to licensed songs that they don’t own, according to executives knowledgeable with the plans but who are not allowed to speak publicly on behalf of Google.

An ad-free YouTube service… /me strokes chin. So there would only be content that was on YouTube anyway? And it would alway be video, not pure audio? And no album or artist browse or other music-specific niceties? That would be a really odd and interesting user experience. I want the rumor to be true just because it’s a creative approach to the product.

The Verge has the best story I’ve seen:

We already knew that Google Play has sought licenses for a subscription music service, but now comes word that Google’s YouTube wants them, too.

the YouTube deal is largely an extension of earlier negotiations with Google Play.

sales at Google Play have improved but still aren’t generating “significant revenue,” according to multiple music industry sources with knowledge of the numbers.


By contrast, YouTube is gargantuan. Professionally produced music videos account for hundreds of millions of views, and represent some of the site’s most popular fare. All of YouTube’s music videos are available free of charge but Google indeed generates significant revenue by selling ads against the videos. Yet, some of the shine comes off YouTube’s figures when set against the overall number of users. Music industry sources say that on a per-user basis, YouTube isn’t making that much money. The labels want it improved.

Some in the music industry still worry that YouTube chokes off demand from more profitable outlets, such as Apple’s iTunes and Amazon. The Fortune story offered a telling stat: “64 percent of teenagers prefer YouTube over any other music listening and discovery engine,”

2 thoughts on “

  1. I’m sure you know this already, but YouTube does have artist/album/related artist browsing:

    If they can manage to fill out that catalogue to include everything (claimed by the owner, regardless of who it’s added by), and allow people to pay to not get advertising (and allow streaming to other interfaces, as Spotify does), that seems like it would be a great solution.

    1. I *didn’t* know about the /{artist,album,related}/* pages, Alf. Thanks!

      It’s a unique way of slicing the product. I think that Daisy’s hypothesis is that no on-demand service has product-market fit, so there’s no point in being another Rhapsody clone. YouTube is taking a similar angle.

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