When YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told the crowd at the Fortune Brainstorm conference that YouTube Music Key will debut before the end of the year, I’m sure there was an audible gasp from the crowd.
Or maybe not. Streaming music is suddenly like that Alaska Gold Rush of 1898. The first ones there got rich. Many others died trying.
YouTube won’t be among the casualties, but it’s hard to say it will hit the motherlode. Don’t tell Wojcicki that. She’s excited about Music Key. “It's a little bit different than Apple/Spotify, she said at the conference, as reported by Business Insider. ”The music is different and the purpose is different. We have music videos." So the experience is about ‘being able to see your favorite artist play a song ... it's magical.’ “
It sounds about as magical as watching my favorite artist play a song now, on the existing YouTube. Right now, according to new data, time spent with music videos on YouTube (6%) is the same as time spent listening to Pandora (6%).
But this service will be different and better and curated and ad free-- if you will pay for that. The ad-free model cost $8 in the beta test.
She seems to believe the YouTube is altogether more passionate about the videos they see than the daily viewer of four billion Facebook videos. “We want our users to engage. We want them to not be channel surfing. We want them to say, ‘I saw a video, I cared about that video, I commented on that video, and I continued watching it.’”
But it’s been reported Facebook is eyeing adding a music videos to its NewsFeed, at which point Wojcicki has to hope YouTube’s Music Key is clearly a better experience and users will say, “I saw a video Music Key. I cared about that video. I want Facebook to stop showing music videos. Damn it.”
The reason YouTube and Apple and Spotify and Gawker, among others, can exist, and probably why everybody wants to grow the business, has to do with the length of the content. Which is to say, songs are short. You’re in, you’re out.In between are the advertising possibilities and while there aren’t ads between every song, the listener/video viewer knows these sites can be enjoyed in short bursts, exactly the Point A to Point B online mobile experience a content provider should like, and YouTube provides. The ad-free versions people pay for are just found money for YouTube or Apple. And as the online entertainment space fills up with well-financed players who want to claim as much of it as they can as their own turf.