Thursday, May 17, 2018

YouTube to launch music streaming service next week, adds credits to music videos | UNLIMITED | CMU


Hey, so you know that new premium music service YouTube’s going to launch? Well it’s going to launch it next week. So it’s not long now before you can be one of the millions of people not signed up to it.

In a blog post announcing the 22 May launch, the company said that YouTube Music (as it is to be known) will make “the world of music easier to explore and more personalised than ever”. Basically, the idea is that you will never need to leave YouTube for any of your music listening needs ever again. The gaps in YouTube’s existing music catalogue will be plugged by the new set-up, creating one mega service filled with music you’ll find on all the other platforms, and lots you won’t.

There are the usual promises of a brilliant user experience, awesome personalised recommendations and thousands of great playlists that streaming services always make. Plus, YouTube reckons its music service will have such an amazing search option that it will be able to find stuff even when you’re not sure what it is. One example the company gives as a possible search term is “that hipster song with the whistling”. Though I’m not sure how it will fair with “the one on that advert with the dog that goes mmmmanan nnnn nuh shhshh BAP dungh prroororrrrrr”.

YouTube Music is set to launch in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico on Tuesday, with a free ad-supported version and a $9.99 per month option.

It had been thought that the new service might replace the Google Play Music streaming service, although the company says that this is not the case. Existing Google Play Music subscribers will have the premium version of YouTube Music bundled into their packages though. So that’s nice. For them.

As well as this, YouTube also announced that it plans to rebrand its platform-wide subscription service, YouTube Red, as YouTube Premium in the near future. Continuing to provide ad-free access to the website, it will also include a YouTube Music subscription, resulting in a price increase for new users to $11.99 per month.

Also yesterday, YouTube announced that it will now provide detailed credits for the music contained in official music videos on its entire platform, as well as user-generated content soundtracked with other people’s songs, via a new ‘Music In This Video’ section on its pages. The newly-displayed data now features on more than half a billion videos on the platform, the company reckons.

On videos which simply feature music in their soundtrack, viewers will also now be able to link through to the official videos for the tracks they hear playing, as well as seeing who was involved in making them.

“Bringing ‘Music In This Video’ to the diverse content that exists on YouTube is made possible due to the data and technology behind Content ID, which allows copyright owners to identify and manage their content on YouTube”, explains the company in another blog post. “It’s also possible due to YouTube’s partnerships with record labels, music publishers and music rights societies around the world”.

So that’s nice. The ramping up of musical credits on YouTube follows a similar commitment made by Spotify earlier this year, and by Tidal in 2017, though with the UCG add-on, of course. When Spotify added beefed up metadata to its desktop app it was a little more muted in its fanfare. “A lot of this data is going to be a load of old shit, because the information the record labels provide us with is fucking useless”, said the company. Or words to that effect. I may not have remembered it exactly right.

Oh wait, look I’ve found it. Spotify actually said: “We realise some of the label-provided credits are incomplete or may contain inaccuracies, but this is just the first step in displaying songwriter credits on Spotify”. So there you go, I was right. A load of old shit.

Still, these moves by digital music services to display more information about those involved in the making of music responds to something that many in the music community have been demanding for a long time. So the addition of this data by YouTube will be welcomed by music types, although it may not stop them thinking the Google-owned site is evil. Maybe the streaming service will do that though, who knows?*

*Me. It won’t.


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