YouTube to launch its own music streaming service, says report

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YouTube may tune in to the online music world this year with its own streaming service.

The service would likely offer free music streaming paid for by ads as well as an ad-free subscription option, according to Fortune, which says it was briefed by sources in the record industry and by an unnamed person at its parent company Google.

A YouTube representative told CNET that "while we don't comment on rumor or speculation, there are some content creators that think they would benefit from a subscription revenue stream in addition to ads, so we're looking at that."

YouTube's streaming service would share at least one new feature reportedly coming to Google Play. Users of Google Play can currently buy, store, and listen to their own tracks online. But both services will reportedly offer a subscription plan designed to add more benefits.

Record industry executives are still on the fence over the merits of a free ad-supported model versus an ad-free subscription, the sources told Fortune. More customers gravitate toward the free approach but many have been quite willing to pay for subscriptions that block out ads and offer more features.

Of course, YouTube would compete against a host of other streaming-music sites, including Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Muve Music and Soundcloud. All of those services have a big head start and a fair number of users.

Spotify leads the pack with 5 million paid subscribers around the world and 1 million in the U.S. Muve Music holds 1.4 million customers, followed by Spotify with around 1 million. YouTube has more than 800 million visitors each month, a lucrative landscape for music companies.

This article originally appeared on CNET.

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    Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

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