YouTube announced its new subscription music streaming service last Wednesday. The video sharing site has always been able to amass an enormous audience for the music videos it hosts, but the new YouTube Red service is facing a market already filled with competing services. From leader Spotify to the similarly new Apple Music, Red is going to need to prove exactly why its offering is superior and perhaps even worth a switch. So far, the service seems to have an enviable position that's sure to draw attention from other big players in the industry.
On a basic level, YouTube Red is Google's answer to the growing music streaming market. It is potentially problematic for the company to launch this new service so late (Spotify has been perfecting its service since 2006, almost a decade ago), but it seems that there could still be an audience for Red. After all, YouTube isn't starting from virtually nothing like Spotify and others did. Millions of people log into YouTube every day to watch everything from the latest viral video to their favorite artist's hit single. The site's ad-supported video service is one of Google's best performing products, and it can only grow with YouTube Red. At $9.99 a month, Red will expand on YouTube's basic features, allowing subscribers to eliminate all ads, save videos to play while offline, and continue listening to their videos while in another app.
YouTube greatest claim to fame and its unique advantage is its focus on music videos. Other than simply streaming audio files and displaying album artwork like its competitors, YouTube adds a visual element to the listening experience. Many subscribers would likely prefer viewing a music video alongside their song of choice, and still having the choice of going audio only when browsing other apps. Music videos are also very influential and well-produced films are likely to encourage listening. If users have the time, having the ability to view an artist's music videos on the same platform they use to stream music is sure to pull some attention over to YouTube Red.
YouTube will also benefit from how well established the site and mobile apps are. As the most popular videos are increasingly reaching a billion views, the video streaming service is not suffering from any lack of a user base. Prior to YouTube Red, the program has been easy to use and simplistic. If you're familiar with the Internet, you're likely familiar with YouTube as well. Thanks to its enormous scope of content, there are millions of videos available for music that can be hard to find on other music streaming services.
Combined with the fact that signing up for YouTube Red will add a collective membership with Google Play Music, the tech giant's foray into the music streaming world seems off to a good start. The only factor that may elicit some doubt from critics is the need to shift users over from what has always been a free, ad-supported site to one that is priced at $9.99 a month, albeit with useful functions. If YouTube users do begin to subscribe to "the ultimate YouTube experience," an even more competitive and consumer-friendly music streaming market is sure to follow, and that can only be a good thing.