Last week we heard news of a Google Music streaming service that's in development from both The Gaurdian and Bloomberg. Yesterday those stories were added to by a report on CNN / Fortune that the future for Google looks like "Google Play for Android is a digital locker for music -- users buy, store, and sort a collection of tracks; but on YouTube's coming service, anyone can listen to tracks for free. Both services are said to be adding a subscription fee that will unlock additional features. For the YouTube-based service, this will likely mean ad-free access."
Although Google has the world's most popular music streaming service already in YouTube, it could be a cool product to add for Google, giving people the ability to customize and curate music streams. Plus all the cool kids are doing it (Spotify, Apple, Pandora , Beats et al) So why shouldn't YouTube get in on that action?
Here's what a YouTube rep said in response: "While we don't comment on rumor or speculation, there are some content creators that think they would benefit from a subscription revenue stream in addition to ads, so we're looking at that."
This would make sense, given the rumors of Apple's streaming music or Apple Radio service from ealier this year. Google and Apple seem locked in a race to compete in so many areas right now, from music to mobile devices to wearble tech and even interactive TV that this just seems par for the course.
The music industry and the major labels are still in massive hurt from their missing the boat for entirely the LAST DECADE on the digital music thing, and it seems to be onboard for whichever pied piper can bring them the most music streams. They realize that bought music is in decline compared to the halcyon days of CD sales, and get excited by anyone who promises big numbers. Spotify and Apple are obvious contenders for the winner's circle, but YouTube can perhaps give them the biggest "funnel."
"We talk about for subscription services, the need to have a funnel. Google, with its hundreds of millions of users through search, YouTube with its more than 800 million users, arguably is the biggest funnel we could have. Clearly if we could get consumers into a legal funnel through that route and encourage them to subscription, that would have a very positive impact on the business," said Francis Keeling of UMG's digital business group at an IFPI conference recently.