YouTube confirmed on Tuesday that it will launch a paid service for streaming music over the currently free channel. The Google video service has partnered with record companies and independent labels to offer a premium service that will allow users to stream music without any ads, but this might not be good news for all labels. YouTube announced that companies that do not sign up for the new paid service will be blocked off the channel.
Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) said YouTube contracts with the music labels are not negotiable nor favorable for those small labels. WIN’s CEO also stated the company will continue to try to show how important indie music labels are to streaming services. YouTube said the majority of labels have already signed up, and this new service will add more revenue to the already profitable service it provides to the music industry. The new paid service will allow users to stream music without any ads and will be available to use offline, plus it will let users download music to their mobile phones. The Google company will now compete with other music streaming companies such as Spotify, Rhapsody and Apple. Big labels such as Universal, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group have already signed up for the service, which is expected to launch late summer. The pricing for the service has not been released.
Although big recording companies have already signed up for the launch of the new program, not everyone is excited about YouTube’s new paid service. Some indie labels that are not willing to pay for the service will be blocked off the channel. Labels such as XL Recordings, with artists including Adele and Arctic Monkeys, have not agreed with YouTube’s terms. In addition, the nonprofit indie music association, Impala, has already filed a complaint on the new service to the European Commission. In an interview with Financial Times, YouTube’s head of business operations, Robert Kyncl, expressed that the company will like to get 100 percent of the record labels on board with this new service. He stated that even if 10 percent have not agreed, the company will still launch the program in respect for the other 90 percent and for future users of the service. Kyncl announced that the company will start taking down videos of labels that do not agree with the new terms of service.
Google already has music service called Play All Access, with a subscription of $9.99 per month that launched in May 2013. This service allows the user to listen to any song, artist or album without any ads. In addition, the service offers users the ability to create their own radio station by selecting a song, genre of music, artist or album. This type of custom radio also works like a playlist, where consumers can skip over songs and arrange them as they please. It is unknown how Google will treat users that already have this subscription when their new music service is introduced.
The launch of the paid streaming music service offered by YouTube will not affect regular users that post their own songs and content. The new service is specified for recording artists that have a contract with a record label. According to Tech Crunch, videos distributed by Vevo on YouTube will remain as part of the company’s free service.
By Marcia Villavicencio