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YouTube to move into subscription music streaming

Streaming is the future of music for many people and (the present for some). Now YouTube wants some of the action.

Anonymous sources at YouTube and its parent Google have told Fortune magazine it will launch a music streaming service later this year to take on the likes of Spotify and Pandora.

According to the report, YouTube will offer a free music streaming supported by ads, with a premium ad-free service also available. At first blush the service would seem to overlap a little with Google Play, but by the time of the launch Google will most probably have worked out its product differentiation story.

Many people (myself included) already use YouTube as a primary source of music – and music videos – in the home or on mobile devices, so what’s new about YouTube’s planned streaming service? Mainly the idea of building a subscription service, with the steady revenue stream that comes with that model.

"While we don't comment on rumour or speculation,” the Fortune article quoted a Google spokesperson as saying, “there are some content creators that think they would benefit from a subscription revenue stream in addition to ads, so we're looking at that."

I’m sure they are. Google may not want to be evil, but it does want world domination, and it is well on the way to achieving it. Why let Spotify eat any of its lunch?

Music streaming is growing strongly, with improvements in bandwidth and technology and as many in the entertainment industry belatedly begin to realise that their business models need to change with the times.

In my home we often sit down for the evening and play old YouTube music clips on our big screen smart TV. It’s great fun, and it’s free.

Hours of enjoyment one night when we had a dinner party with non-techie guests who just couldn’t believe it. You can watch just about anything you want, though the quality can be a bit dodgy.

We’ve tried music streaming, but it’s seemed not quite there. But things are changing …


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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.