Google is finally simplifying its selection of streaming services. Yesterday, the company’s head of music, Lyor Cohen, confirmed that YouTube Red and Google Play Music, which have to this point served as separate streaming services with overlapping qualities, will be merged into one new entity in the near future.
The news is a welcome move forward for YouTube’s music offerings though not a massive surprise given the music teams from YouTube and Google Play combined earlier this year, signaling that a merge was imminent. As it stands Google and YouTube combined offer YouTube Red, YouTube Music, YouTube TV and Google Play Music. It’s all a little complicated and hard to parse for consumers because there is serious overlap, particularly between the two most prominent entities mentioned for a possible merger, YouTube Red and Google Play Music. Currently, if you’re a YouTube Red subscriber, you receive a free subscription to Google Play Music and vice versa for subscribers to the music service. Cohen admitted that the situation is mushy and vexing, saying a merger is necessary in order to simplify the company’s music offerings and bring in new subscribers.
In a statement obtained by The Verge, Google noted that it would notify users of any change beforehand: “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.”
Google has a lot of work to do if it wants to be a serious player in the streaming marketplace, competing with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. Simply combining YouTube Red and Google Play Music won’t put Mountain View on the same level as those two companies, but it is a step in the right direction.