After many years of attempting to work out a paid service for music, ranging from the audio-only Google Play in 2011 to the video-incorporating Youtube Music Key in 2014, which ultimately turned into the adless Youtube Red in 2015, Youtube and Google are finally getting ready to take their first steps into a third party streaming service. The platform is reportedly being referred to internally as Remix, according to a report on Billboard, and will feature on-demand music streaming and also incorporate video clips and other media available on Youtube.
As of almost a year ago in November 2016, Youtube Red was only reporting approximately 1.5 million subscribers, a minuscule customer base when compared to other streaming platforms like Spotify, who services, as of this summer, just over 60 million subscribers. As such, with YouTube supposedly eyeing a March launch for the Remix platform, they would obviously need to figure out a way to significantly boost that subscriber base from YouTube Red’s numbers.
Additionally, the March date leaves very small turnaround time for licensing deals with labels in order for the service to promote any sort of catalogue. While Billboard notes that they already have Warner Music Group on board, giants like Sony Music and Universal Music Group are still in the negotiation phase. However, even if these three massive labels agreed to YouTube’s terms, there is still no news on whether indie labels — who greatly rely on streaming for the promotion of their notably smaller artists — are even in the running for consideration on Remix.
I guess we’ll see what happens in March.