YouTube rolls out ‘Premium’ music service in an attempt to drown out Spotify

To compete with industry leaders Spotify and Apple, Google is turning up the dial on its musical offerings with a new AI-powered Premium streaming platform.


May 18, 2018

Google is hitting shuffle on its music offerings, replacing its old subscription offering, Youtube Red, with YouTube Music — a new AI-powered music-streaming service with free and paid versions.

Using its never-ending reservoir of data to make a “smarter” clone of popular platforms, Google hopes to take on streaming’s big dogs. But the $9.99/month Premium service has a lot of ground to cover to catch up to Spotify.

Giving the people what they already have

$3.4B poured into the paid streaming industry last year, with Spotify leading the pack at 75m paid subscribers, and Apple close behind at 50m. Now Google hopes to copy their success — and then optimize it.

If imitation is really flattery, then Spotify and Apple should be blushing — YouTube Music mirrors its competitors from price point ($9.99) to major features (discovery, artist radio, offline options).

A struggle to differentiate from competitors — and itself

To poach paying listeners, YouTube Music will use Google’s AI-powered assistant — which knows more about you than you do — to curate a hyper-personalized playlist based on where you are, what you’re doing, and what you had for lunch.

To get users on board, Google must also differentiate between its own music products.

The murky difference between Google Play Music (Google’s music streaming platform), YouTube Music Premium (Youtube’s music streaming platform), and YouTube Premium (previously YouTube Red — ad-free YouTube + music) is enough to make you pine for your walkman.

Just remember it this way: YouTube Red is now YouTube Dead.

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