Google is rumored to be making a pretty obvious step: To be going after Spotify not just with Google Music, but also with YouTube. This rather sensible step is apparently in the works, according to the Wall Street Journal, but what’s interesting is Google is attacking it from not one but two angles.
Google Inc.’s Android unit has been negotiating with music companies to start a paid subscription music-streaming service akin to Spotify AB, according to people familiar with the matter.
Separately, Google’s YouTube video website is trying to obtain licenses from music labels to start a paid subscription service for music videos and potentially also for audio-only songs, these people said.
Honestly, we’re not sure how the YouTube concept would work or even make sense for music labels. One of the lessons that both Psy and Macklemore can teach the music industry is that having a funny, attention-getting music video is pretty much the only way to have the kind of massive hit that the record industry used to thrive on. Consider that the former is a Korean pop star who had zero presence or marketing power in the U.S. two years ago and that the latter is a rapper from Seattle, not exactly noted for the national power of its hip-hop scene. YouTube is enormously powerful, and part of that is the fact that it’s free.
But Google Music handling streams makes a lot more sense. While Google Music hasn’t exactly hijacked the music industry from Apple, it does have quite a bit of reach and the fact that Google can seamlessly make it a part of any Android device with a push download certainly would capture the music industry’s attention.
In short, Spotify’s about to get some major competition. And this is before Apple weighs in, too.