Opinion May 23, 2018

Will YouTube Music get Australians to subscribe?

Christie Eliezer
Contributing Editor
Will YouTube Music get Australians to subscribe?

As YouTube Music begins rolling out in Australia, the question is: will Australians see enough features to warrant reaching for their credit cards?

It must be remembered that YouTube Music is the company’s fourth attempt at such a service.

In the past, YouTube users have sent a strong message – we don’t want to pay for music.

Two things could change their minds, and both hinge on how intense Australians are about discovering new music.

One, there is the exclusive factor where official albums and videos will be augmented with user-uploaded live performances, remixes, covers and rarities.

YouTube has done this supremely well, which is why 1 billion music fans use it every month.

The other plus is the recommendation and playlist features.

YouTube Music provides suggestions on what users have been played before and what they’re doing.

In a blog, the service states, “At the gym workin’ on that fitness? Escaping during your commute? The right music is right here, built just for you.”

And of course, YouTube has made it its business through the years to collect as much data information about its users – and this is where the payoff comes.

There are thousands of playlists across any genre, mood or activity, and users can find them without the need to remember their titles, courtesy of a smart search function.

It’s so good it can work out “that rap song with a flute” or even if you get the lyrics wrong.

Like Bon Jovi’s ‘Living On A Prayer’ where the line It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not” is often mistaken for “It doesn’t matter if we’re naked or not” or the line “There’s a bad moon on the rise” on Creedence’s ‘Bad Moon Rising’ has in popular thought become “There’s a bathroom on the right”.

Among the playlists recommended by YouTube’s blog are “’Blogged 50’ to discover new music or Indie Under Pressure to get the heart rate going.”

A dedicated Hotlist screen shows the most popular videos in the world right now, broken down in territories.

A new feature Your Mixtape – generated from a list of favourite artists, new recommendations and frequently listened songs – is automatically downloaded to a user’s phone, accessible for offline listening.

No internet? No problem. Paid members can download music and listen ad-free and in the background.

Major music executives, even those who are hostile to YouTube for its royalty rate, have acclaimed its coming.

Talking to Music Business Worldwide, Warner Music’s UK CEO of Recorded Music Max Lousada stated, “The potential prize here is huge,” adding it was an “important step in recognising the power of artists, their music and the value they create”.

Meanwhile, Kobalt CEO Willard Ahdritz told the title that YouTube Music “will positively impact artists with the billions of consumers [YouTube reaches] across the globe”.

Ahdritz added: “From day one, I’ve been supportive of YouTube’s video platform and its ability to drive the music industry forward.

“I’m excited [that YouTube is] now monetising their great platform with an improved subscription service.”

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