YouTube has unveiled plans for the launch of its paid music streaming service, YouTube Music which will be available to subscribers on May 22nd. YouTube is also overhauling it’s present ad-free premium service YouTube Red by renaming it Youtube Premium and hiking the subscription price by $2. YouTube Music subscriptions will be available for $9.99 per month and YouTube Premium (which will include all of YouTube Music’s offerings) will cost $11.99 (up from YouTube Red’s $9.99). This move may be YouTube’s way of addressing concerns of the global music industry who claim that YouTube’s massive listener base does not translate into fair payouts for artists.
Two years ago YouTube had launched a premium service called YouTube Red that offered an ad-free viewing experience and a selection of original programming available exclusively to subscribers. The $9.99 YouTube Red plan came bundled with a music streaming subscription also through Google Play Music (Google Play Music could be independently subscribed to for the same price of $9.99 which made YouTube Red a better deal). So what we are seeing here is a hike of $2 for access to ad-free YouTube, music streaming and original programming.
No announcement has been made regarding the launch of either of these tiers of subscription for Indian users. In India, Google Play Music is offered at a much cheaper Rs 89 per month subscription, in line with other players like Apple Music (Rs 120) and Gaana (Rs 99). But Recode is reporting that Youtube Music will eventually also replace Google Play Music as Google looks to consolidate both services. It is unclear if YouTube Music will arrive in India only after it has completely replaced Play Music. This is a rather unsurprising conundrum that subscribers to Google’s services always face where the company inexplicably runs two or more competing products which appear to perennially be in ‘beta mode’ until one gets shut down and taken over by the other.
Content ID becomes a labelling tool
YouTube also announced that it will begin labelling more song and artist information for videos that are hosted on the platform. The video streaming service has been using a tool called Content ID, which automatically identifies copyrighted content on YouTube and lets copyright owners decide what happens next. They may request to monetize the video by showing ads, for example, or they may request that the video is blocked. Basically, it was primarily used as an Anti-Piracy tool.
Now, the very same technology that powers Content ID will be used to display more metadata via a “music in this video” feature. How it will work is when you hit the “show more” option below a video, you can see a full list of people who were involved in the making, licensing, and producing of the song. This will apply to any video, be it an official music video, a DJ set, or even a homemade cat video with background music. For music on amateur videos, YouTube will also link directly to the artist’s official channel and the official version of the music video, if it’s on YouTube.