YouTube has always prospered from its massive catalogue of the latest musical hits (as well as an impressive selection of more obscure tracks uploaded by fans), but now it seems the video-streaming site might be taking its music business to the next level.
It’s rumoured that the Google-owned YouTube could launch a streaming service similar to Spotify: offering users an on-demand library with free and premium subscription tiers.
Reports on the matter from Billboard indicate that the service could be launched before the end of the year, with the free tier supported by ads on desktop and mobile whilst the paid option (costing roughly $10 or £6 a month) could offer offline libraries and syncing with smartphones.
YouTube have not commented on the matter, giving a statement saying only: "We’re always working on new and better ways for people to enjoy YouTube content across all screens, and on giving partners more opportunities to reach their fans. However, we have nothing to announce at this time."
The venture would make sense given YouTube’s massive presence as an access point for music online, but would seemingly clash with its parent company’s current offering: Google Play All Access. However, the licences obtained by Google for this venture (including deals with Sony, Warner and Universal) could certainly boost YouTube’s digital library.
The rumours of the streaming service have picked up on something similar, suggesting that YouTube Radio (to coin a completely unjustified name) would fill out the smattering of singles currently released by artists onto the site with full albums.
If the service did launch it would be entering a market that has never been more competitive. As well as stalwarts like Spotify, Rhapsody and Rdio, there are new upstarts like Bloom.fm and the as-yet-unreleased Beats Music, a service expected soon from the makers of Dr Dre’s own brand of headphones.
Although rumours of a YouTube music streamer have been around for a while, it’s possible that a launch could coincide with the site’s first music video awards, an NYC-based event which will feature the likes of Lady Gaga, Eminem and Arcade Fire.