Music Pass is the soon-to-launch (hopefully after a year delay) premium-based feature on YouTube that allows people to explore music with more ease and freedom. Reportedly, it will let you play background music while you use other apps. Uninterrupted playback without ads is provided with paid subscription. And you will be able to download and play offline. So, you can watch videos and listen to music without Wi-Fi; and essentially killing your data allowance.
CNET reports that, “you’ll be able to download a whole playlist to watch offline, and choose which definition the video is saved as, while uploaders will be able to specify their videos can’t be watched offline.
A Google spokesperson tells TechCrunch, “we’re always working on new ways for people to enjoy YouTube content across all screens, and on giving our partners more opportunities to reach their fans and generate revenue. We’ll be adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube with this in mind, and look forward to sharing them with music fans.”
Of course there will be a free option. This is meant to challenge providers like Spotify and SoundCloud with “enhanced features”. What those features are, we will see.
10% of the music industry isn’t all that happy about this launch. Independent labels that signed artists like Adele and Arctic Monkies are refusing to agree to YouTube’s terms and conditions. The concern is that they feel artists under the free version will not receive a fair royalty payout like those artists and labels under the premium option. The Worldwide Independent Network is filing a suit for anticompetitive behavior. Nonetheless labels who refuse to sign will have content taken down, meaning goodbye ad revenue for artists and YouTubers.
According to Forbes, “As noted in an article about the K-Pop artist Psy making money from YouTube ads earlier this week, if a song becomes popular enough, any clip that uses the original music and earns ad revenue is either taken down immediately or split with the track’s owner.”
So, it’s an exciting and sticky situation all around. Marketers are gearing up for new potential reach. Viewers are ready to see (and hear) what features they will incorporate into their lives. And musicians, most of them at least, are ready to cast their sound waves.
Music Pass should be interesting, if anything.