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Google to merge YouTube Red and Google Play Music
August 10, 2017, 4:29 pm

The head of music at YouTube, Lyor Cohen, confirmed last week that the company is planning on merging its Google Play Music service with YouTube Red to create a new streaming offering.

The merging makes sense; at present YouTube’s music ecosystem is unnecessarily complicated. There is YouTube Red, which removes ads from videos and lets you save them offline, while also giving you access to Google Play Music for free. Then there’s YouTube Music, which anyone can use, but it gets better if you are signed up for YouTube Red. And then there is YouTube — an entirely separate thing — but it is not available everywhere yet.

The merger has been rumored within the industry for months, and recently picked up steam after Google combined the teams working on the two streaming services earlier this year.

“Music is very important to Google and we’re evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners and artists. Nothing will change for users today and we’ll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made,” said Mr. Cohen.

The time frame for the rebranded service is still unclear, but given the recent merging of the teams — and the fact that Cohen is openly talking about it — it may not be much longer before we see what Google has in store.

In some ways, merging the services will not be a major change. Paying for a subscription to either YouTube Red or Google Play Music gives you the other service for free. But in terms of presenting a clear, simple, and compelling offering to consumers, combining the two makes a lot of sense — so much that you wonder why this has not happened earlier.

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