YouTube Music Chief Lyor Cohen took the stage at this year's South By Southwest expo to deliver a one hour keynote, during which he talked briefly about Google's upcoming YouTube-based music service. Cohen recounted the history of the music industry during his long and rather illustrious career, and stopped to touch on a few points regarding YouTube's treatment of music and streaming. He acknowledged that Google was a bit late in the game, and said that the upcoming service would combine Google Play Music All Access' vast library with that of YouTube, along with usability fixes and a more cohesive approach to the entire idea. He did not mention anything about what perks may be included with the service, when it may come out, or pricing.
YouTube has long been a pariah of sorts in the modern music industry because of how easy it is for users to simply slip content onto the service without the original artist or associated parties like labels and managers seeing a dime. YouTube has used both AI and manpower to work on this issue, but still apparently has yet to satisfy the music industry at large. A new premium service would be a chance to rectify this to an extent, depending on how Google handles it; the company could make deals with major music labels in much the same way that Spotify or Pandora does, or could approach music royalties on a case by case basis. The service was expected to be announced and launched at South By Southwest, but with the launch delayed, rumors have shifted to May's Google I/O conference.
The obvious talking point here is that the service could wind up being redundant due to the existence of Google Play Music All Access and YouTube Red. This new service apparently seeks to combine those two under a single banner, constituting a rebrand of sorts. As things stand, signing up for one will get you the other; they're a package deal. This means that unifying them and making some minor changes along the way could be a good way to revitalize interest in the two services.