Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or two, you’ve no doubt heard of services like Spotify and Beats Music. These streaming services have done well for themselves by offering unlimited streaming of a wide variety of music (unless you’re a Taylor Swift fan) for a flat monthly fee. For some these services are not appealing because you do not actually *own* your music, no matter how much time you spend cultivating playlists. For others, myself included, these services have provided hours of listening enjoyment without having to shell out a ton of cash or worse, pirating music illegally.
Apple has, with limited success, tried to get into the music streaming business with iTunes Match and iTunes Radio, but as someone who lives in Apple’s ecosystem I can count on one hand the number of people I know who use these services. Maybe that’s why they spent $3 billion to buy Beats. Google has also tried to get into this space with Google Play Music All Access (say that five times fast), but this venture has not been very lucrative for them. Maybe it’s the name… But Google haven’t given up. They’ve decided to ditch the horribly named streaming service they had and are now building a new streaming service on the back of one of their properties, one that many people turn to for streaming music already: YouTube.
YouTube might not be the first thing you think of when looking at the music landscape, but when you think about it YouTube has always been a great place to go and find music. And not just music, videos of music. I purposely did not say music videos there because that term makes me think of MTV and VH1. That’s right kids, those channels once played music videos long before it devolved into whatever the hell you want to call them today. I have spent a lot of time listening to music and watching live performances on YouTube, some professionals, others just talented fans and hopefuls. The new streaming service would look to take the great history of music that YouTube has and create a new place for users and artists to come together. The beta for the new service, named YouTube Music Key, will start Monday November 17, 2014 and beta users will be offered a discounted rate of $7.99/month after the beta ends. The rest of us will be looking at the familiar price tag of $9.99/month. Does YouTube have what it takes to take down the more established streaming services, or will this be yet another failed attempt at getting into the music streaming business? Only time will tell, but I for one wish them the best and will be interested to see what happens after the beta.