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article imageGoogle launches YouTube Music to mixed reviews

By James Walker     Nov 14, 2015 in Technology
Google has officially launched YouTube Music in the U.S. The service is designed to take on rival streaming apps including Spotify and Apple Music. Users can listen for free or enjoy an "amplified experience" for a $9.99 per month subscription.
The paid option, provided by the all-encompassing YouTube Red, is what Google clearly wants people to be using. With a subscription, all adverts are removed and music can be played offline.
The company says YouTube Music can provide "an experience beyond listening" and has "one of the richest music catalogs on earth." It wrote in a blog post: "No matter where you start in the app, the music will never stop. Every song you play or artist you choose will take you on an endless journey through YouTube's music catalog. A simple tap and you're on your way, enjoying your favorite music and discovering new artists effortlessly. The home tab will recommend tracks just for you and create personalized stations based on your tastes."
YouTube Music sits alongside Google's existing streaming service, Google Play Music. The two services are designed to complement each other and peacefully co-exist. T. Jay Fowler, head of development of music products at YouTube, told The Verge that the new app is "uniquely YouTube."
In short, YouTube Music is essentially an easier way for people to access the vast number of tracks that already exist on the platform. It's designed to be simple and convenient, automatically generating a new playlist each day so you don't have to. It's actually impossible to manually create playlists - that's something Google Play Music does and Fowler didn't "add in features so we could check a box just because another service has that feature."
Play Music, accessible with the same YouTube Red subscription, is for when you want control of the listening experience. YouTube Music covers the convenience side, picking content for you when all you want is immediate listening.
The Verge came away impressed, describing the new take on an audio streaming service as a "game changer." Not everybody agrees though and some reviewers have slammed the product as unnecessary and illogical given Google already has an established music app in Play Music.
Gizmodo had no shortage of criticism, branding YouTube Music "breathtakingly pointless" and "the laziest possible app YouTube could have made." The site explains that YouTube is incredibly important for music, a conclusion supported by several key studies, but the new app does nothing to extend this and is "pathetic" when it comes to discovering new artists and tracks.
Google says it has paid over $3 billion to the record industry to date and has been an "incredible source" of promotion for artists. Its blog post also describes how YouTube Music is "designed to make discovering music on YouTube easier than ever."
The timing of the app's launch comes just a day after Apple killed off Beats Music so it can concentrate on maintaining only one streaming service, its own-brand Apple Music. Beats Music evolved from the MOG streaming platform, a service that Google's Fowler worked on before moving to YouTube. He described his old project as "the Betamax of music services" while speaking to the Verge.
YouTube Music is available now on iOS and Android in the U.S, arriving a month after Google publicly announced the service. Users can claim a 14-day free trial of YouTube Red to get started with ad-free listening before the $9.99 a month subscription starts.
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