It’s no surprise that Google knows where you go most days, where you eat, what kind of products you’re likely to purchase and more or less your entire online presence. They’re monetizing this knowledge of the consumers and trying to sell you a new type of product: YouTube Music.
Google announced on May 17th that they’re killing YouTube Red and turning it into a two level product system, the YouTube Music and the YouTube Premium platforms. The YouTube Music service is going to let users get seamless ad free music on YouTube, even when users switch apps or turn off the screen, for a monthly subscription fee of $9.99. Regular YouTube app users must keep their screen on at all times without switching to Facebook or other apps to continuously play music. YouTube Premium has all those features, but for everything, including music and YouTube Red Originals. This feature costs $11.99 for the user. This means if the user gets YouTube Premium, they also get the YouTube Music service, which seems like the entry point for YouTube Premium.
However, we’re here to discuss YouTube Music, and more importantly, what Spotify can expect for their market. For years now Spotify has had a monopoly of sorts in the mobile music player industry, rarely having any competition. As such their products and services have become a little lackluster. Just recently they had a scandal about removing R. Kelly from the official Spotify playlist, and there are women’s groups who are pressuring the platform to remove artists like Chris Brown and Red Hot Chili Peppers. They have also launched a new hate content and hateful conduct policy, which has been widely criticized for being anti-free speech. Their only competition for a long time, Apple Music, has been slowly stepping out of the spotlight and has yet to take advantage of this.
Yet, with the now YouTube Music label, Google is clearly making moves to take Spotify’s market share in the music app market. With a smart marketing scheme, a library of over 40 million songs and other tools at the disposal of the giant corporation that is Google, Spotify might get caught in a perfect storm.
YouTube Music has a long way to go before it even becomes Spotify’s chief competitor in that market. Yet, we’ve known from Google’s track record that they don’t take many false steps, and most of their endeavors have been successful. It would take a monumental effort from Spotify to stop Google from infringing on their market shares and keep the number one spot in the years to come. For now, they will enjoy being the best-selling music app on the Play Store and App store. Google on the other hand, has other issues. Its YouTube platform has been widely criticized for sudden demonetization and hypocritical ad laws, such as when they let a video of the Jimmy Kimmel show ads for their video on a US school shooting incident, even though that’s against YouTube’s own policies. This kind of behavior and double standards against content creators has seen many get bitter and outright leaving the platform to go to Twitch.com. The battle for musical supremacy is more even than you’d think at first glance, and if not careful, either one of these labels could go down as just another footnote in the history of the other.