YouTube was previewed in May 2005, officially launched in November of that year and then in 2006 was one of the fastest growing websites on the Internet. Less than a year after it’s official release to the public, YouTube was snapped by by Google. And over the last seven years, we’ve seen steady improvements to the service, most recently the ability to opt into a particular resolution when playing back videos. But one thing we’re yet to see is a subscription music service, which is a little unusual given that so many people use YouTube for their music. Indeed, it’s been one of the more persistent rumors over the last eighteen months, perhaps because the project has been delayed and delayed. We here at Android Headlines have reported that YouTube were to release a music subscription service and now, finally, YouTube Chief Exective Officer, Susan Wojcicki has confirmed in an interview with Code / Mobile that her team are “working on it” as a short term objective.
Short term could mean in the next few days or months, we’re not sure as Susan didn’t get into specifics. We’ve already seen that the product may be called “Music Key,” and we also know that one of the obstacles is understanding how to give customers options. This reads as though YouTube are working on pricing tiers and service levels. We can expect the YouTube subscription level to include features such as concert footage and music videos, so this is a more complex problem than encountered by businesses such as Spotify. I suspect that this is the reason why the service hasn’t already been released and I’m not going to hold my breath as to what Susan’s “short term” really means; it’s possible that the release will be subject to ongoing delays, especially as the music companies like to upset the applecart.
Google already offer a music subscription service called All Access, so it’ll be interesting to see how the YouTube offering matches up with this or co-exists. We already know that Google can successfully run two businesses that might be considered competitors with a degree of cooperation and no (public, at least) infighting; take a look at Chrome OS and Android as a great example of this. We can also consider Android TV as another home for the YouTube music service, plus enabling other features such as screen-off and offline playback (allowing users to save a considerable amount of battery).
When YouTube’s music subscription goes live, it’ll join a crowded market place; as well as Google Play All Access, we’ve 8track, Spotify, Sound Cloud, Slacker, Stitcher and Pandora, to name but a few. It’ll be interesting to see what benefits and advantages YouTube’s entry brings and how the business will be able to persuade people to pay so much a month for the service. But what do our readers think? Do you already use YouTube for music and what would you like to see included in a subscription service? Hit us up in the comments below.