Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, recently stated at the ‘Code Media Conference’ with Kara Swisher, that the 3-year-old paid streaming subscription service, YouTube Red, is going to “roll out of the paid-for platform to around 100 countries” (Music Business Worldwide, Article). This interview has tickled many music fanatics and has given rise to several questions surrounding the aftermath of this remodel; will changing this to more of a global service be more appealing to a mass audience? How will other streaming services compete, will YouTube Red be the next new favoured music service everyone uses?
Keach (2018) argues that YouTube Red is having an ‘identity crisis’ due to the wide range of content it supplies, it can’t be classed as a music-based server and therefore incomparable to servers such as Spotify. However, Wojcicki (2018) expresses ‘“YouTube Red is a service that is really a music service. We have an amazing collection of music; we have all these music videos”, suggesting that its rivals are music servers, like Spotify, opposed to video based streaming services, like Netflix. In addition, surely paying for a service that provides more than just musical content and at the same price as a solely music releasing platform, is going to be more favourable to users? Arguably, you are getting more for your money… right?
Spotify and YouTube Red are extremely similar: they both have a free service, a premium opt-in service, exclusive content to paid users and the luxury for paid users to download content for when they are offline. Despite both offering the same services, Spotify has a far larger number of users in comparison to YouTube Red and this may be due to it being globally available to more people; ‘most of Europe, most of the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia’, whereas YouTube Red is currently only available ‘in five countries: the US, Australia, Mexico, South Korea and New Zealand’ (Wojcicki, Interview).
However, without this global advantage it’s hard to see what is holding Spotify users back from using a service that is just as good, or if not offers more (due to the video content). Investopedia (2015) states, “with over 20 million subscribers and 75 million active users, Spotify has taken a significant share of the streaming music market but may struggle to differentiate itself in the face of competition from services like YouTube Red”. Wojcicki (2018) goes on to express “now that we’ve finished all of our music deals we’re actually going to be expanding to a large number of countries”.
On the contrary, one thing that does differ between the two services is the income revenue creators earn from their content uploaded. YouTube is known to pay less per stream than Spotify does to their creative users. Sanchez (2018) states, “Last year, at $0.0006 per play, the video platform had the worst artist revenue pay-outs”. Therefore, artists/creators may favour putting their content on Spotify over YouTube Red and as a result bringing their fans along with them. Although, this can ultimately affect the content uploaded on to these different platforms, it’s more likely for artists to upload their music on to both platforms, therefore shouldn’t have a huge effect overall.
All in all, while it is great to hear that YouTube Red is growing globally – not to mention supposedly coming to the UK, we are still unsure on whether Wojcicki’s promises will actually go to plan. The real question is, what do you want to happen? What streaming platform do you prefer? Let us know!