YouTube to launch Spotify rival streaming music service in 2018

Astrid Stawiarz  Getty Images

Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

According to Bloomberg, Warner Music Group has already inked a licensing deal for the platform.

Alphabet's YouTube plans to introduce a paid music streaming service in March, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. Talks with Sony and Universal, as well as Merlin-which represents hundreds of independent record labels-are apparently underway. Nonetheless, with Spotify having 60 million paying users and Apple about 27 million subscribers YouTube will have a mountain to climb to catch up.

Alphabet no doubt wants a part of the growing music streaming market. This would be the Google-owned company's third attempt to successfully compete with industry-leaders Spotify and Apple.

What do you think of the idea of a YouTube music streaming service? YouTube Red was initially launched with a heavy focus on originals, but YouTube been shifting its marketing to put a bigger emphasis on ad-free YouTube viewing and music streaming in recent months. That morphed into YouTube Red in 2016, letting users watch any video without advertising. It also comes after a raft of sustained criticism from the industry that YouTube does not compensate artists enough for content hosted on the platform.

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YouTube must overcome several hurdles to meet a March target.

Making things a little spicier is the fact that music channel Vevo's contract with YouTube reportedly requires re-negotiation early next year.

YouTube was not available for comment outside regular business hours.

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