It looks as if Google’s approach to subscription-based content may soon be simplified. The Verge has reported that, according to YouTube head of music Lyor Cohen, YouTube Red and Google Play Music will be combined to form a single service that will offer ad-free access to music and video.
YouTube Red and Google Play Music subscriptions both cost $9.99 per month, and purchasing the former automatically unlocks the latter. Therefore, in a sense, the two services are already linked, though Cohen and his cohorts hope to bring them even closer together. “The important thing is combining YouTube Red and Google Play Music, and having one offering,” the executive told The Verge.
Such a combination would mitigate a problem Google is well aware of: Its subscription-based offerings are needlessly confusing. The video-focused YouTube Music and the audio streaming service Google Play Music are separate, despite the fact that their respective teams have been consolidated. Meanwhile, platforms like Spotify offer a more elegant solution, with one subscription granting access to ad-free audio and video.
Should it unite YouTube Red with Google Play Music, the world’s top video site will make it clear what exactly their $9.99-per-month gets them, which could promote more activity on the combined apps. “Music is very important to Google and we’re evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners and artists,” reads a Google statement shared by The Verge. “Nothing will change for users today and we’ll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made.”
A more united offering could also help Cohen as he continues to negotiate with the music labels that have harried YouTube over the past year and change. “In my mind, the missing piece on building these businesses is collaborating with the [music] industry, and not just making deals and going away and seeing how it works,” he told The Verge.
Outside of the music world, a YouTube Red subscription also offers access to hours of personality-driven original programming. Those shows, many of which feature social media stars, were on display during YouTube’s presentation at VidCon 2017.