YouTube and Google To Combine—and Streamline—Services

The Head of Music at YouTube has confirmed swirling rumors that the company is, in fact, planning to merge the Google Play Music service with the YouTube Red platform to create something brand new in the streaming world. At a panel session for the New Music Seminar conference (New York), Lyor Cohen assuaged that the company needs to merge the two in order to better educate consumers on the industry as well as increase subscriber bases.

When questioned about why YouTube Red is not more popular among mainstream streaming music users, Cohen responded, “The important thing is combining YouTube Red and Google Play Music and have one offering.” He did not, however, address when—or even if—this would actually happen.

For now, though, it does appear that something has to change. At this time, the music ecosystem—the financial system—at YouTube is complicated; and unnecessarily so. Basically, YouTube has three avenues:
• YouTube Red: subscription-based service which removes ads from videos and allows users to save videos offline; free access to Google Play Music
• YouTube Music: available to anyone but with improved functionality with YouTube Red subscription
• YouTube TV: somewhat obscure; not even widely available yet.

Also, for now, we do have something that Google said in a statement to The Verge: “Music is very important to Google and we’re evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners, and artists.”

Changes, of course, are not easy; particularly when pricing structures follow suit. Fortunately, Google has thought about this already, adding “Nothing will change for users today and we’ll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made.”

Cohen also makes sure to note that he aims to collaborate directly with music labels and property rights holders. He attests, “In my mind, the missing piece on building these businesses is collaborating with the [music] industry, and not just making deals and going away and seeing how it works.”

Still, there is much to be speculated as no further details have yet been revealed. Sure, Cohen is talking about the merger openly, but a time frame has not even been discussed.

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