YouTube Music in India
One of the biggest competition of all music streaming apps has finally arrived. Google is diversifying YouTube exclusively for Music under the brand YouTube Music. YouTube created an exclusive music experience tab in its native app sometime back. However, now YouTube Music will be available as a standalone app on the Google Play Store. Also, the Google Play Music service will be phased out and everyone who updates the Play Music app will witness a new icon in its place – YouTube Music. YouTube Music In India will bring a direct competition to Music streaming apps in the country – Gaana; Saavn, Amazon Prime Music, Jio Music and Wynk.
As YouTube Music launches in other parts of the world, the free version stays and there will be a paid version as well (YouTube Music Premium) which will charge customers $ 9.99 per month for an ad free experience. The free version, like the original YouTube app, will have both skippable and non-skippable ads. The new YouTube Music experience is all set to roll out today, May 22, in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea and other geographies including India should follow soon.
Advantages to YouTube Music in India
- YouTube Music in India is ‘kind of’ already there – The biggest advantage to YouTube Music is the fact that the app is virtually already residing in every Android phone. Google intentionally has retained the Play Music app in all their updates and have made sure that the app cannot be deleted. A one tap update on the Google Play Store, or even auto update for people who have it enabled, will show up the YouTube Music app in all Android Smartphones.
- More than 80% smartphones in India run on Android and the consumers are kind of already carrying the new YouTube Music app.
- Focus on Regional Content Might Pay Off – YouTube has been focusing big time on regional content for quite sometime now and all of it can be made available in audio form in a snap – official songs, albums, playlists, artist radio, remixes, live performances, covers and what not.
Challenges to YouTube Music in India
- Music Streaming Apps owned by Mobile Network Providers – Already established players in the category will leave no stone unturned to offer everything that Google does and much more. Music streaming apps like Jio Music, Wynk which are owned by biggest data networks providers in the country might take a competitive advantage and offer consumers a data free streaming only on their music app.
- Paid Model hasn’t really clicked for Google – Keeping India aside, the paid versions somehow don’t work for Google even globally. YouTube RED, the paid version of the video platform which never came to India, contributes only 7% of YouTube’s revenue and has not really taken off. Google’s assumption that YouTube’s existing consumers base will be open to shell out some money doesn’t look like having clicked. Quite possibly we might not even see the YouTube Music Premium in India.
- $9.99 per month is a deal breaker – If we translate the subscription charges form dollars to Rupees it is certainly too expensive for the Indian consumer. at $9.99 per month the subscription will be even more expensive than Netflix in India. Consumers are unlikely to shell out that kind of money for audio content.
- Google or YouTube apart, platforms which have been paid from Day 1, say Netflix & Apple Music, have flared better compared to apps who have been trying to toggle between free and paid models. Amazon Prime Music also comes bundled with the Prime bunch of paid services.
The road to YouTube Music Premium in India looks tough to climb, but at the same time the Free version can really get a huge launch pad in India. We will have to wait and watch.