YouTube Red Raises Questions Of Artist Renumeration
When Google announced YouTube Red this week is mentioned that Google Play Music subscribers would get YouTube Red at no extra charge, with the opposite also being true.
That raises some interesting questions for the distribution of funds to artists.
Traditionally (if you can use that word in relation to a service which is less than a decade old) music subscription services have distributed the bulk of its subscription to the rights holders. Around 70% seems to be the norm.
How is Google going to handle the relationship between music track streaming and video content streams? If they are both going to be paid from the same 70% pool based on play counts the video content providers are going to have some real problems.
Music streaming is going to swamp video stream numbers, which means that those YouTube content producers aren't going to get the rewards they might have done through an ad-based model.
Alternatively Google may decide to split its 30% share of the subscription with video content producers. A 50-50 split would give those producers a better chance of earning some income, however Google would be looking at a significantly reduced share of the overall pot in that case.
The distribution of funds may not be Google's only headache with its streaming services though. Google's music subscription has been through a couple of rounds of renaming, whilst YouTube Red seems to be exactly the same service that was launched as YouTube Key a year ago.
In both cases the continued rebranding suggests poor levels of adoption.
Whilst Apple has converted 6.5m users to its streaming service in four months, I'd be surprised if Google has managed half that number in the years since it launched two and a half years ago.