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article imageGoogle to merge YouTube Red and Play Music into a single service

By James Walker     Jul 27, 2017 in Technology
Google is preparing to merge together its YouTube Red and Play Music streaming subscriptions into a single combined service. The company wants to offer potential customers "one offering" after hearing reports that the current system is too confusing.
YouTube Red launched in 2015 as a $10 monthly subscription service. It offers an ad-free YouTube experience that includes the option of downloading content to watch offline. Customers also receive a complementary free subscription to Play Music, Google's online music streaming service.
In an interview with The Verge, YouTube head of music Lyor Cohen said this arrangement will soon be replaced with a different offer. The YouTube Red and Google Play Music subscriptions will be combined under a single banner. The change should make it clearer to consumers which services they're actually getting access to.
Cohen didn't say what the renamed service will be called. It's not expected that either of the two apps will receive any branding changes. The new name will be used purely to market the joint subscription to the products, creating "one offering" that's designed to appeal to all music fans. Google hopes that a simplified promise of access to the entire Play Music catalogue and ad-free YouTube videos will be a win in the hotly contested music market.
The merge shouldn't have any significant impacts on current subscribers. Google said it would be notifying users before it makes any changes to their plan. It added it is working with its partners in the music industry to develop the "best possible" music streaming product.
"Music is very important to Google and we're evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners and artists," the company commented to The Verge. "Nothing will change for users today and we'll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made."
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With a single umbrella branding, Google could be uniquely positioned to pitch its two most important streaming services to fans of either one. Although they overlap each other, the services have distinct focuses and individual value.
A streaming music fan who sometimes watches YouTube videos should find the product as useful as a person who only occasionally listens to music but watches YouTube for hours each day. As Google's regularly criticised for maintaining suites of related but separate products, this move towards unification demonstrates it is thinking about simplifying its line-up.
More about Google, Google Play Music, YouTube, youtube red, Streaming
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