Ever since last year’s launch of YouTube Red, I’ve wondered: How long until Google just combines its two music subscription services? Not that long, apparently. YouTube music head Lyor Cohen recently said that “combining YouTube Red and Google Play Music” is a priority for the company.
Google launched the Play on-demand music service in 2013, only to realize later that YouTube’s own massive role in online music might need to be formalized and better monetized—if for no other reason than to placate a music industry frustrated by user-uploaded media and the “safe harbor” copyright law loophole that gave rise to an endless game of infringement whack-a-mole.
That left Google running two separate music subscription services, neither of which has taken off quite like Spotify and Apple Music have. Amazon Music is now reportedly the third biggest music subscription service.