Google has confirmed, in a statement that Google Play Music and YouTube Red will be merged to create a new streaming service. According to Google, users would receive plenty of notice before any changes were actually made. Further, they are still in the process of evaluating how to bring these two services together. Google noted: “Music is very important to Google and we’re evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners and artists. Nothing will change for users today and we’ll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made.”
What’s interesting to me is that these two services are already linked. If you have a subscription to YouTube red, you get a free subscription to Google Play Music. And vice versa. But apparently subscribers don’t know this. So are they simply linking the two services, or providing a whole new/modified service? What is also difficult is that while the two systems are linked, you have to switch between apps in order to take full advantage. Perhaps this would focus more on an integrated app.
To make it even more complicated, YouTube Red’s service is available through the main YouTube app. Which is in addition to Google’s standalone YouTube Music app, that focuses on music videos. Kind of confusing, right? Perhaps the issue isn’t that people don’t know that they can access the other services, but it’s about ease of use.
If you want people to be able to use your app, or service or whatever it is, make it simple! My biggest pet peeve with technology is that I have to go to 100 different places just to locate one thing. Ok, so that’s an exaggeration, but having several different apps that do a version of the same thing, doesn’t make sense. Which means, I fully support Google coming up with some kind of centralized app that does everything it currently does.
This makes even more sense when you think about it in terms of their competition. Apple Music and Spotify both integrate video into their apps, so this only makes sense. Plus YouTube already has an extensive music video collection, so why not take advantage of this opportunity?
I should note that this isn’t coming from Google themselves, but pure speculation on my part. If this isn’t what they’re going to do, what is their plan? Others are speculating that maybe it’s more about re-branding than anything else. But I don’t buy that. As I mentioned before, why make your consumers jump through hoops to find what they want? Why make it so complicated? I want to say that people are going to stop using it, but let’s be honest. It’s YouTube. Even with the ads, people are still going to use it.
A more likely question is why would Google continue to put money into several different products, when they could put that into one? That seems like the more plausible question, and reason behind this merger. If, that is in fact what they are doing. If it doesn’t make sense from a business perspective, it will start to hurt your bottom line. Which means, that it’s time to figure out what the problem is and start coming up with solutions.