Friday, October 25, 2013


I just read in the New York Times that YouTube will soon unveil a paid subscription service for music that will compete with outlets like Spotify, according to several people briefed on the company’s plans. YouTube, a division of Google, plans to introduce it by the end of the year, perhaps as early as next month, these people said. Subscriptions, at about $10 a month, would be tailored to mobile devices, and give users access to YouTube’s vast catalog of music videos without interruptions from advertising. The service will also let customers temporarily store videos on their smartphones and tablets to watch offline, according to these people, who were not authorized to discuss the service publicly. The new service, whose name was not known, would solve problems for both YouTube and the music industry. Mobile access to YouTube has exploded lately — Google recently announced that 40 percent of YouTube’s traffic is mobile, compared with 6 percent just two years ago — but the lower advertising rates on tablets and smartphones have caused some music labels to block their content from those devices. Through the subscription deals, YouTube would gain the licenses it needs to stream music to any device.In exchange, record labels, music publishers and authors, which have long complained that YouTube’s per-stream payouts were very low compared with other services, would earn higher royalty rates. Music companies would also be able to tame somewhat the chaos of content on YouTube by organizing music in full albums and playlists. Executives say that would be a help in promoting artists on the service, which has become the default listening platform for young consumers.

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