YouTube’s long-awaited subscription service has gone live in the US, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea – and top execs have been on hand to celebrate its arrival.
“Music has helped attract a global audience of almost two billion to YouTube, so the potential prize here is huge,” said Max Lousada, CEO, recorded music at Warner Music Group and chairman/CEO of Warner Music UK. “The original way the service brings together music and video, as well as its big launch campaign, shows YouTube is making a commitment to subscription. It’s an important step in recognising the power of artists, their music, and the value they create.”
Lousada – this year’s winner of Music Week’s Strat Award – has long been an advocate of digital music competition, telling Music Week last month in a world exclusive interview: “We want a diverse pool of partners, we don’t want a monopoly or two or three. We want to establish the value that we have in our deals to our artists and that is something that we’ll continue to work on.”
Kobalt CEO/founder Willard Ahdritz – another recent Music Week cover star – was a similarly early adopter of digital music and also welcomed YouTube Music’s debut.
“From day one, I’ve been supportive of YouTube’s video platform and its ability to drive the music industry forward,” he said. “I’m excited they are now monetising their great platform with an improved subscription service. I’m confident it will positively impact artists with the billions of consumers they reach across the globe. We look forward to working closely with them and all their great data to ultimately help artists and creators further their careers.”
“We welcome the launch of YouTube Music,” added Michael Nash, EVP of digital strategy at Universal Music Group. “This important milestone should broaden consumer choice, promote competition, optimise artists’ engagement with audiences and support fair compensation for music creators. UMG’s licensing strategy is focused on achieving those objectives to the benefit of the entire music ecosystem.”
The trio added their voices to the likes of AIM’s Paul Pacifico, PIAS’ Adrian Pope and Deviate Digital’s Sammy Andrews, who are all in the new edition of Music Week giving their verdict on the new service.
Music executives have not always been so keen on YouTube of course, but the last week seems to have marked a sea change in the relationship between the streaming site and the music industry, marred for so long by the ‘value gap’ debate. As well as the launch of the new subscription service, YouTube announced the addition of songwriter credits and a revamped Artist On The Rise programme, while the arrival of legendary label executive Lyor Cohen as global head of music has no doubt helped win over some.
There is a lot riding on the launch for Google, with the move putting YouTube squarely in competition with Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon, as the battle for streaming supremacy moves to a new level. A first day blog from YouTube Music product manager Elias Roman – who seems to be blogging more often than some leading YouTubers these days – was quick to stress the points of difference between it and other services, most notably its mix of audio and video.
To read Music Week’s article on how the increased competition between streaming services will benefit the music business, click here. To read our Max Lousada cover story, click here. To subscribe and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.