Music Pass

YouTube’s (rumored) music service on hold

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 11:00am

But probably not for long. Keep in mind that everything written about YouTube’s entry into the subscription-music market is rumor, based on undisclosed sources. The latest twist: AllThingsD reports the rumored service will not meet its rumored launch timeframe (end of year), but is rumored to be planning a 2014 debut.

Despite the Big Question surrounding this speculation, we believe that Google will indeed put YouTube into play against Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, and other online jukebox platforms. What is the Big Question? This: Where is the added value to justify a subscription? YouTube is already the dominant listening service for teens, absolutely free of charge, easily shareable, robustly social, astonishing in scope, and rapidly expanding every day. 

But despite the odd fact that YouTube is already in the market, and dominating portions of it, Google probably perceives a business imperative to formalize the service and capture some portion of its roughly one-billion users as paying customers.

According to AllThingsD sources, the delay (in a timeline not acknowledged by the company) is due to product development complications, and not due to content licensing complications. Google already has relationships with music owners on both the YouTube and All Access sides of its music business. 

Google leak fortifies rumor of a YouTube music service

Monday, December 2, 2013 - 12:15pm

Although we and most other observers have been presuming an imminent YouTube music service to be ordained fact, it is merely a widely-reported rumor. That rumor got a strengthened spine when the Android Police website performed a “teardown” (examination of code) on the latest version of YouTube’s Android app.

Scrutinizing code can sometimes reveal placeholders of functions planned for the future, but not yet implemented. To code-savvy snoopers, those strings are like Easter eggs. In this case, they offer scant but intriguing glimpses that could match up to the rumored music service. 

The findings:

  • A name: Music Pass;
  • A reference to offline playback, a feature usually associated with subscription listening platforms;
  • A feature referenced as “background listening,” which doesn’t make much sense in a video service, but is perfectly sensible for a music service;
  • A feature called “Uninterrupted music,” with this marketing string: “No ads on millions of songs.”

Android Police also found graphic icons associated with the placeholder features.

In light of these revelations, we continue to presume that Google is readying a music subscription service on its YouTube platform, and our core question holds firm. What added value will Google bring to the service which might persuade YouTube users to pay for a platform which is already free, opulently stocked with music, and the go-to source of listening for teens? We need more Easter eggs to answer that question.

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