YouTube to challenge Spotify and Apple Music with new service

Posted May 17, 2018 by Tim Sandle
YouTube has announced it is to take on its rivals at Amazon, Spotify and Apple and it will launch a video and audio music streaming service.
A person looks at YouTube on a laptop.
A person looks at YouTube on a laptop.
Ozan Kose, AFP/File
YouTube Music intends to combine millions of "official" tracks, with the vast catalog of rarities and remixes already uploaded by YouTube users. In terms of access, YouTube will adopt a Spotify-like model whereby a free, advert-funded app will available or, for those seeking a break from the intrusion of advertising, a premium subscription option priced at $9.99 per month. The announcement for Google owned YouTube probably signals the eventual ending of Google Play Music.
The service will not be made available to everyone at once. The first countries to benefit from Google's new extension into music services is the U.S. and Mexico, starting on May 22, 2018. Europe will be part of the second wave. As to why now, streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music are making large sums of money. Globally, streaming generated $7.1 billion in 2017, far more than sales of CDs and vinyl. Spotify has around 75 million subscribers, while Apple Music has 42 million.
According to YouTube Music product manager Elias Roman, in an interview with the BBC: "The days of jumping back and forth between multiple music apps and YouTube are over. Whether you want to listen, watch or discover, it's all here."
How different the YouTube service is from its rivals remains to be seen. Certainly there have been calls recently for more variety among the main music service providers, with Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine stating that streaming services are too similar - and need to diversify to survive.
The YouTube service is promising a new app geared towards offering personalized playlists based on users' streaming history, much like Spotify's Discover Weekly.