Google to merge Play Music and YouTube Red into a unified service

Google is planning on merging its Google Play Music streaming service with its YouTube Red to create a single unified streaming offering, The Verge reports. The news came during a panel session for the New Music Seminar conference in New York, where YouTube music chief Lyor Cohen stated that Google needed to merge the two services so that customers would better understand their offerings, as well as bringing in new subscribers. Although Google Play Music and YouTube Red have long offered a unified subscription plan — users with a paid subscription to one service automatically gain access to the other — Cohen acknowledges that marketing the two services separately has been confusing and prevented YouTube Red from being more popular with music users. Cohen didn’t comment on what would happen in terms of the individual iOS apps for the services, but it seems likely that there will remain at least some distinction between the two apps.
Likely due to YouTube’s organic growth into the music ecosystem, Google’s offerings have become needlessly complicated, with a variety of YouTube services — YouTube Red, YouTube Music, and YouTube TV — all existing alongside the Google-branded Play Music streaming music service. Google combined the teams working on the two streaming services earlier this year, leading to an acceleration of rumours that a merger was coming soon, but this is the first time any official comment has been made by any Google or YouTube executives. In a statement to The Verge, Google made it clear that it will notify users of any changes before they happen, and that the company is “evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners and artists,” emphasizing that nothing is going to change for users in the near future.

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