Back in February, Google combined their YouTube and Play Music teams in order to “deliver the best possible product.” That move widely suggested that Google was working on a single music service to greatly simplify their offering. Today, that merger was officially confirmed by YouTube’s head of music.
According to The Verge, YouTube music head Lyor Cohen spoke of combining the two services at a panel session during the New Music Seminar. He was specifically responding to why YouTube Red isn’t more popular with users when he said, “The important thing is combining YouTube Red and Google Play Music, and having one offering.”
Google’s music strategy has been remarkably confusing with a $9.99 monthly subscription providing access to both a library of 40 million songs in Play Music and ad-free music video playback in YouTube.
Additionally, YouTube Red offers a number of other benefits including background play and offline playback of clips, as well as access to original movies and shows made by YouTube creators. However, that does not even include the up-and-coming YouTube TV service that is now available in 15 markets across the United States.
Meanwhile, Play Music fits the more traditional idea of a music app with the ability to play local files, as well as smart AI created playlists that suggests songs based on the time of day and other factors. There is also a free music locker for uploading songs to the cloud.
When the merger of the two was first announced in February, Google noted that it would simplify negotiations with music labels. Hopefully that streamlining will soon result in a better, more coherent music product.