If there’s something that everyone seems to be doing at the moment, it would be music streaming services – except perhaps the ones that should, Apple. Despite this, Google are looking into launching their own music subscription service to compete with the likes of Rdio and Spotify, in order to complement their existing Google Music service.
It all seems to be focused around YouTube and the model it currently operates. Users generally listen to music on YouTube, but not necessarily watch the video content, and this is the issue Google are going to address, leveraging the content for a subscription based premium service.
The two new services are defined by their respective places in the Google empire: Google Play for Android is a digital locker for music — users buy, store, and sort a collection of tracks; but on YouTube’s coming service, anyone can listen to tracks for free. Both services are said to be adding a subscription fee that will unlock additional features. For the YouTube-based service, this will likely mean ad-free access.
If ever there was a company that could experiment with subscription versus ad-based models, it is Google. The power and size of YouTube’s music audience is vast, and growing, and likely presents an opportunity too good for the record companies to pass up.
Google is in the best position to experiment with a freemium ad-based model compared to a subscription based service, and has the content to do so. Google Music already takes user content and stores it in the cloud for replaying, and combining this with the ability to add content to this collection for offline playback would result in the ultimate experience, if executed correctly.
In what is becoming an increasing crowded music subscription service, obtaining any marketshare will be a difficult thing to accomplish, but if anyone can do it, Google can.