YouTube is going to start increasing the number of ads that appear between music videos to convince its freeloading users to pay for its upcoming music streaming service. The company’s global head of music Lyor Cohen explained to Bloomberg this week in an interview at the South by Southwest music festival that non-paying users are “not going to be happy” when they’re jamming out to a playlist, only to be bombarded with ads after every song.
Cohen, who joined the Google-owned company in late 2016, says that the strategic shift will put an end to the “noise” about YouTube and other streaming services hurting the music industry. After all, YouTube has skated by for all these years allowing users to upload copyrighted songs without properly reimbursing the artists.
“There’s a lot more people in our funnel that we can frustrate and seduce to become subscribers,” Cohen said. “Once we do that, trust me, all that noise will be gone and articles people write about that noise will be gone.”
As Bloomberg points out, YouTube has attempted to market paid subscription services in the past to little avail, but Cohen is confident that the company’s latest venture will succeed. He says that the new service (which may or may not be called YouTube Remix) will offer exclusive videos and playlists, and that YouTube has already begun funding music videos from some of the industry’s biggest stars. Unfortunately, he didn’t provide any details regarding pricing or release timing, but “thousands” of Google employees are reportedly already using it.
More competition is a good thing for artists and consumers alike, but YouTube may want to massage its messaging before the service actually launches. After all, knowing that YouTube wants to advertise me into submission isn’t the most compelling selling point for a service trying to compete with Spotify and Apple Music.