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YouTube’s head of music Lyor Cohen has confirmed that YouTube Red and Google Play Music will be merging into one streaming service, according to a report from The Verge.
Speaking at a panel in New York, Cohen acknowledged that the services provide similar offerings and that it was important to combine them.
YouTube’s streaming services are complicated. YouTube Red costs US$9.99 a month, and includes an ad-free experience, offline watching, and access to original Red content. It also provides access to Google Play Music.
Google Play Music offers ad-free music streaming, the ability to make playlists, and offline listening. It costs the same, and a subscription includes access to YouTube Red.
‘Music is very important to Google’
Red is currently only available in the US, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and Mexico. Google Play Music is available in 64 countries and does not include Korea. Whether a merger would exist only for the four countries that have access to both or if the merge would expand Red’s reach is unclear. Google has been reached for comment.
YouTube Music is another music streaming service owned by Google. It can be “amplified” with YouTube Red and as such is only available in the same five countries. Earlier this year, Google merged the teams working on YouTube Music and Google Play Music, though the services remain separate.
It seems unlikely the merge between Red and Play Music will be in the form of a a single app, as combining music and video streaming into one app would further complicate rather than simplify.
The company has made it clear that users will be notified before any changes are made.
“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,” the company told The Verge.