YouTube, even more than Deezer, Tidal, and Spotify, is where much of the world goes to in order to find music. A streaming service from the Google-owned video giant would make sense, given how much musical content is already hosted on its servers. YouTube Music would also be a sensible name for it, so as not to dilute the brand. See where we’re going with this?
YouTube has announced YouTube Music, a new desktop player (we’re not sure if this is browser-based or not, yet) and an app that will allow users to search and stream music. Loads of music. YouTube says that the service “…has thousands of playlists, the official versions of millions of songs, albums, artist radio and more, in addition to all the music videos people expect from YouTube.”
YouTube is touting some interesting search functions, from lyric search to description of the song (“that hipster song with the whistling” is used as an example of the latter) and is also claiming a lot of exclusive content not available elsewhere. Curated and auto-generated playlists as well as music suggestions based on your location (Airport? Something soothing. Gym? Thrash metal.) will be features as well.
There will, of course, be paid and free tiers of YouTube Music. YouTube Music, like YouTube itself, will be supported by ads but if you’re not a fan of the auto-roll then you can opt for YouTube Music Premium. The Premium version will, at launch, cost the same as an HD Netflix subscription: $9.99pm, or about R125 (or whatever the exchange rate decides is a good price this month). You’ll automatically have access to YouTube Music Premium when it launches if you’re already paying for Google Play Music. Google Play Music won’t be going away for the moment, though, so you don’t have to jump on Google’s new offering right away.
Initial launch countries include the States, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea, who will be getting the service from 22 May. Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK will follow in the coming weeks, with South Africa and the rest of the world waiting for an even broader rollout.
If you want to be among the first to know when YouTube Music launches somewhere you can actually access it, Google has a website for that. Alternatively, you can stay tuned to Stuff — the moment YouTube Music hits SA shores, we’ll be comparing it to the likes of office stalwart Spotify.