YouTube extends music streaming service to Europe
PARIS - AFP
YouTube Music will offer Europeans millions of songs and videos advertising-free for a subscription of 9.99 euros a month, 11 percent more expensive than its US version.
An existing free version of the standalone service with ads will continue with "a reimagined mobile app and brand new desktop player," it said.
The Google-owned giant said it would have "thousands of playlists... millions of songs, albums and artist radio" a tool then allows listeners to build radio lists around a singer or band.
The new service is an attempt by the Californian digital empire to combat its fast-growing rivals like Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer.
Google boasts that 1.3 billion internet users already listen to music via YouTube, but it wants a bigger slice of the paid-for music market.
The music industry lobby group, the IFPI, said that 176 million people around the world paid to stream music in 2017, the majority on Sweden-based Spotify, which has 75 million paying subscribers.
YouTube has faced criticism from the music industry for abusing its position, with the IFPI saying that it only pays $1 a year per user in royalties to artists while Spotify pays $20. But YouTube said it has agreed new more equal terms with music companies.
The money paid by streaming operators has helped revive the music industry over the last three years.
Google is also rebranding its e Red services as YouTube Premium offering ad-free music streaming alongside a video platform.
The service, which includes children's shows like the Karate Kid-inspired "Cobra Kai" and a gaming app, is priced at 11.99 euros per month.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in a recent Bloomberg interview that the company has 50 million paid and trial subscribers on its music service, which launched in 2015 and does not have a free tier.
Deezer, which claims to specialise in "cooler" bands and in niche and local markets, has around 15 million subscribers, according to the IFPI.