'We want to see a healthy streaming market': Biz reacts as YouTube rolls out premium service

'We want to see a healthy streaming market': Biz reacts as YouTube rolls out premium service

YouTube is rolling out its new music streaming service from today (May 22) starting in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea.

According to YouTube’s announcement, the UK shouldn’t have long to wait – we’re getting it “soon”, along with other territories including Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

In the latest issue of Music Week, the UK music business has given its first reaction to YouTube’s streaming offer, which includes YouTube Music (ad-supported and free like Spotify’s service) and YouTube Music Premium (an ad-free premium service costing $9.99 in the US).

“It’s a real pity that the excitement of a launch of a major new streaming service will be missed by UK music fans who will have to wait,” AIM CEO Paul Pacifico (pictured) told Music Week.

But he welcomed the launch of a serious rival to Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Music as a boost for indies.

“We want to see a brilliant, vibrant, healthy streaming market with lots of consumer choice and lots of services offering differentiated user experiences,” he said.

YouTube Red, the ad-free video subscription service that was available in the US, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, has now rebranded as You Tube Premium. Priced at $11.99 a month in the US, it also includes YouTube Music Premium. While Spotify and Apple Music have been adding videos to their platforms, YouTube’s combination of ad-free music and video could make it a distinctive service from rivals.

“Video is clearly their USP but they’ve been thoughtful enough to consider how the product functions as an audio-only experience too,” said Adrian Pope, PIAS chief digital officer. “In the short to mid-term it could succeed best amongst genres, demographics and territories that are under-served by other offerings.”

“Video isn’t the only distinction here,” added digital consultant Sammy Andrews of Deviate Digital. “The UGC, rarities, remixes and live versions add a new dimension to streaming services that others haven’t taken – it will be Interesting to see what value those additional elements bring behind a sub wall.”

Streaming is the largest revenue source for recorded music (38.4%), according to the IFPI’s Global Music Report. But YouTube has long been criticised for creating a ‘value gap’ with lower royalties from ad-supported videos.

The relationship between the music industry and YouTube is more collaborative than it ever has been

Paul Pacifico

“Make no mistake, it’s always been a valued partner for the music industry,” said Andrews. “The issue has been what value YouTube itself placed on rights holders.”

Like Spotify, YouTube has recently expanded its songwriter credits and it has launched programming and live events for new artists.

“We continue to have this nuanced relationship between the music industry and YouTube where they are our biggest frenemy, aren't they?” said Pacifico. “On the one hand, they offer incredible opportunities – and democratise the opportunities – for artists to connect with, reach and engage with fans. Yet we find ourselves on the opposite side of the table when it comes to some of the legislative structures, arguments around copyright and licensing negotiations.

“I think the relationship between the music industry and YouTube is more collaborative than it ever has been, and on both sides it’s clear there are areas where our interests are absolutely aligned.” 

For the full reaction of industry figures to YouTube’s premium launch, see this week’s print edition of Music Week or click here. To subscribe and never miss a big industry story click here.

 

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