Google Play Music and the ad-free YouTube Red service are set to merge in a new streaming package, according to YouTube's head of music (via The Verge).
Lyor Cohen revealed the coming change during a panel session at the New Music Seminar conference in New York on Wednesday, saying the two services needed to be combined to educate consumers and attract new subscribers.
The important thing is combining YouTube Red and Google Play Music, and having one offering,” Cohen said when asked about why YouTube Red isn’t more popular with music users. He didn’t address whether or not the two apps would merge — but it seems very unlikely.
By consolidating the offerings into a unified package, Google hopes the benefits of its subscriptions will be clearer to customers. Currently the company offers YouTube Red, which removes ads and lets users save videos for offline viewing, in addition to an ad-supported YouTube Music app (with additional benefits for Red subscribers), while YouTube TV is provided as a separate subscription service.
Google said it would notify users of the changes beforehand, but the timeframe for the rebranding remains unclear. Still, existing subscribers to YouTube Red or Google Play Music shouldn't see a hugely significant change, as the two services are essentially already combined.
YouTube made several announcements at the annual VidCon convention in California on Thursday, covering VR, YouTube TV, new original series, and a number of changes coming to the YouTube web and app interface.
First up, YouTube announced a brand new high resolution video format called VR180 that it said would make VR content easier to create. VR180 works on both mobile and desktop, and focuses on what is in front of the viewer, allowing them to turn 90 degrees either side of their field of vision.
The videos transition to a VR experience when viewed with Google Cardboard, Daydream, and PSVR, which enable users to view the images stereoscopically in 3-D, where near things look near, and far things appear far.
For creators, you’ll be able to set up and film your videos the way you normally would with any other camera. And, soon, you'll be able to edit using familiar tools like Adobe Premiere Pro. From vlogs, to makeup tutorials to music videos - your videos will work great in VR.
But supporting the format is just the beginning. We want to make cameras that are easy to work with too. The Daydream team is working with several manufacturers to build cameras from the ground up for VR180. These cameras are not only great for creators looking to easily make VR content, but also anyone who wants to capture life’s highlights in VR. They will be as easy to use as point-and-shoot cameras, for around the same price. Videos and livestreams will be easy to upload to YouTube.
YouTube said that cameras were on the way from YI, Lenovo, and LG, with the first ones making their way onto the shelves this winter. The company is also opening up a VR180 certification program, with Z CAM announced as one of its first partners. Content creators can learn more and sign up for updates at vr.google.com/vr180.
Elsewhere, YouTube said it would be bringing an update to its mobile app in the coming weeks that would allow the interface to dynamically adapt to whatever video size is being watched, whether vertical, square, or horizontal, in order to make better use of screen space. It also said it would be making its mobile video sharing feature available in Latin America and across the U.S. over the next couple of weeks.
Moving on, YouTube said that in the next couple of weeks it would be expanding its YouTube TV service to ten more markets in the U.S., including Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne and Charlotte.
The streaming television service that was first announced in late February before rolling out to five cities in early April. The service costs $35 and is already available in in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
Finally, the Google-owned video hub took the opportunity to reveal that 1.5 billion users now log in to YouTube every single month – the equivalent of one in every five people around the world. It said that, on average, viewers spend over an hour a day watching YouTube on mobile devices alone.
Music streaming subscriptions are on the rise, but YouTube isn’t intimidated.
The video giant reported Tuesday that it paid out $1 billion to the music industry based solely on advertising. In a blog post titled “A billion reasons to celebrate music on YouTube,” the company elaborates on why the music industry should embrace advertising and subscription models for digital services.
Those are two of digital star Liza Koshy’s favorite things. She even purchased the “Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal” sweater back in June, in anticipation of December.
So when YouTube approached her with an idea for a holiday special, it was an obvious yes.
“I freaking love the holidays,” the 20-year-old YouTuber, who first rose to fame on Vine, told Mashable in a recent Facebook Live interview. “I’ve been psyched for them. It’s my favorite time of year. This one was super easy to agree to. It gave me the opportunity to do longer content. It’s a 35-minute special. Everything I come up with myself has been seven minutes and below. Shorter form … I was super excited to create something longer and see if I could even do it.” Read more…