The head of YouTube's music department, Lyor Cohen, has confirmed that the firm is planning a merger with Google Play Music. Google, the company behind both services, currently offers YouTube Red alongside Google Play Music as separate services, but by subscribing to one, users automatically get access to the other one for free, something that can lead to confusion. It now appears that the company is set to change this by creating a brand new service that will unite both products under one name.
YouTube Red offers subscribers access to videos on the service without ads and the ability to save them offline, along with a number of original content exclusive to the platform. On the other hand, Google Play Music is a traditional streaming service similar to Spotify or Apple Music. The merger between the two has been speculated for some time now, with Google merging their respective teams back in February, but the future strategy for what will eventually become a single service is currently unclear. Considering YouTube's popularity, it wouldn't be surprising to see Google use this to its advantage while doing away with the Google Play Music branding altogether. From a consumer point of view, subscribing to the unified service will provide them with a vast library of streamable music, as well as ad-free and exclusive YouTube videos. YouTube should be the product that will differentiate the new service from its competitors, which currently offer a limited amount of original video content. On the music side of things, though, Cohen did mention that the tech giant is keen to work more closely with music labels in order to improve the end-user experience.
The company has yet to make a statement on when the merged service can be expected to launch, though it's currently said to be in the process of "evaluating how to bring [YouTube Red and Google Play Music] together." Considering how the company is openly talking about the merger, though, it may not be too long before the new service is announced. An update on Google's content endeavors and the firm's other ambitions should follow in the coming months.