In a surprise announcement, Google confirmed that YouTube Red and Google Play Music would both be merging at some point in the future. But what does this mean for you?
Two of Google’s biggest services – YouTube Red and Google Plays Music – are set to merge into one at some unspecified point in the future. The announcement was made this week by YouTube’s head of music, Lyor Cohen, although the details were vague.
Here’s what you need to know…
What are YouTube Red and Google Play Music?
YouTube Red is a paid-for streaming service that’s only available in the USA, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Korea.
It provides ad-free streaming for all the videos hosted on YouTube, as well as offline playback, background playback of videos (for music listening) on mobile, and access to ad-free music streaming through Google Play Music. You also get access to YouTube Red Original film and video series.
Google Play Music is a streaming service that lets users access music and podcasts. An ‘All Access’ subscription lets you listen to the entire GPM catalogue of music on demand, while additional tracks can be purchased for added fees. You can also upload and listen to up to 50,000 songs from your own personal library free of charge.
The current GPM catalogue has 40 million tracks available, and the service is offered in 64 countries around the world.
So what’s this about a merger?
The news comes courtesy of a report by The Verge, which quotes YouTube music boss Lyor Cohen. Speaking during a panel session for the New Music Seminar conference in New York, Cohen said: “The important thing is combining YouTube Red and Google Play Music, and having one offering.
In an additional statement, Google said: “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.”
It continued: “Nothing will change for users today and we’ll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made.”
What does this mean for you?
If you don’t use either service – and don’t ever plan to – then it’s not really a big deal.
But it’s great for making Google’s music ecosystem more clear for users. At present, Google offers YouTube Red, YouTube Music, YouTube TV, and Google Play Music – each with their own varying free and paid-for offerings. It’s baffling, and feels much more overwhelming than the rival Apple Music service.
It’s not actually a massive change, because currently paying for either YouTube Red or Google Play Music gets you the other one for free anyway. However, it should be much more simple going forward when the services merge.
The only possible advantage is that the merger may mean Google will roll out YouTube Red to the remaining countries already served by Google Play Music.
Unfortunately, there’s no word from Google on exactly when the merger will take place, so we’ll have to play the waiting game for now.
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