It’s been rumored for quite some time that YouTube has had a new music service in the works, but details have been pretty scarce. For a while, reports and rumors pointed to a launch at SXSW. Apparently, though, that was never the intention for YouTube.

Next weekend in Texas, one of the biggest music festivals, SXSW, will kick off. As it has in the past, YouTube will have a presence at the event with its global head of music, Lyor Cohen, leading a keynote regarding “seismic changes he’s witnessed and the importance of embracing the future.” Along with that, CEO Susan Wojcicki will be speaking during the event.

However, the company’s efforts will be scaled back from previous years. For a while, YouTube had hosted a selection of artists on its own stage, but Variety reports that it won’t be doing the same this year.

One might assume that this scaling back is because of a canceled launch of the upcoming music service at SXSW, but a YouTube spokesperson said that it was “never our plan to launch at the festival.” That’s somewhat surprising, as an event like SXSW would seemingly be a great launch point for a brand new music streaming service. Apparently, YouTube will be using the event to showcase some of Google’s other products and services.

YouTube’s decision to not use SXSW, and the appearances of key executives at the event, as the launchpad for YouTube Music could mean that the service simply isn’t ready for a public unveiling.

There have also been mixed messages about the way Google is going to position the service, especially as it relates to premium video on YouTube.

At the moment, it’s unclear when YouTube plans to bring this service into the public eye, but the next logical time would be at Google I/O in May.

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Ben Schoon

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