The speculation about an on-demand streaming music service from Google is reaching deafening levels, with two seemingly well-sourced stories pushing the rumour on yesterday. First, Fortune reported that YouTube is planning to launch a subscription music service later this year, with “some overlap” with similar features coming to Google Play. So TWO new Google subscription music services, with the YouTube one tipped to let people listen to music for free, with a subscription fee unlocking extra features and switching ads off. The two-services theory is backed up by a separate Billboard report claiming Warner Music Group has already agreed licensing deals with Google for “two distinct subscription services – one through its YouTube online video property and another via its Google Play platform”, and suggesting Universal, Sony and other labels are “in deep negotiations” to join the party. The overall picture is of premium subscriptions to YouTube channels – including music – but also a dedicated on-demand streaming service under the banner of Google Play. The kicker in both cases: the jury is still out on Google’s ability to persuade people to pay for content, whether apps, video or music.
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