We’ve known for quite some time that YouTube has been planning a new premium music subscription service, but the details have been a bit unclear at times. Now, at SXSW, YouTube’s Global Head of Music, Lyor Cohen, has given a bit of extra insight.
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Speaking in a keynote at SXSW, Cohen briefly touched on YouTube’s upcoming music streaming service. While he didn’t touch on when the service would arrive or how much it would cost, he did finally reveal some minor details about the service. He says that it will “combine the best of Google Play Music’s context server” with the “breadth and depth of catalog” which YouTube boasts, reports TechCrunch.
Cohen took a moment during this keynote to point out a stat about YouTube watch time. Apparently, around 80% of watch time on the platform as a whole comes solely from playlists and videos recommended from others. He said:
Did you know that 80 percent of all of watch time on YouTube is recommended by a recommendation engine?…I didn’t think that was the case when I first joined, but I now know it to be true. Now we’re layering in a programming division solely focused on building and growing the playlist ecosystem that users would love across both paid and [the] ad-supported tier.
That seems to indicate that YouTube’s music service will somehow pull on that strength, possibly competing or even beating out recommended content playlists that services like Spotify already offer. Cohen also mentioned that YouTube’s service will be superior to Spotify and Apple Music from the point of view of artists, saying that “the most powerful aspect of YouTube is our ability to let the artists, managers, publishers, songwriters, and labels to engage with their fans with no hoops to jump through.”
Connections with artists will apparently be a central focus for this service, as TechCrunch states that “YouTube will collaborate and work closely with label partners on the new service to understand their priorities when it comes to promoting and breaking artists.”
Obviously, there’s still a lot that we don’t quite know about YouTube’s music service, but it’s clear the company is spending a lot of time preparing it. Since YouTube is “late to the party” as Cohen mentioned, it only makes sense that it would want this service to be clearly superior to its competitors…