During a panel session at the New Music Seminar conference in New York, YouTube’s head of music, Lyor Cohen, announced some changes that the company is making to its major streaming platforms. Cohen said that Google Play Music will merge with YouTube Red to create a new service. He also added that the reason behind the change is to bring in more subscribers.
In a statement given to The Verge, Google later 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. Nothing will change for users today and we’ll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made. – Google
As you may know, Google Play Music gives you access to a library of over 40 million songs, while a YouTube Red subscription removes ads from YouTube videos and lets you download them to watch offline. In a way, the merger of the two won’t be a major change for users, however, as if you’re subscribed to one service you get the other one for free already (in countries that support both services). Offering the two under one brand could mean, if nothing else, that the package is more easily understood.
Google Play Music is currently available in 64 countries around the world, while YouTube Red can only be used in five. By uniting them, it’s likely that Google is expanding YouTube Red in other countries around the world too, although this hasn’t been confirmed.