Currently, the two big players in the music streaming business are Spotify and Pandora. They’re the names you hear the most. But in reality there are dozens of streaming services including close Spotify competitor Rdio as well as other services such as Last.fm, iHeartRadio, Slacker Radio and (many) more. And according to a new report by Fortune, YouTube could be on that list fighting for the top spot.
The new service is supposedly set to launch later this year and overlap certain features that may or may not be part of future Android updates and Google Play.
The YouTube based streaming service will carry a free and open door, though also feature paid subscriptions with additional (undisclosed at this point) features.
Google Play will continue to evolve and is still Google’s one stop shop for Android and music. You can buy, store and stream content to your Android powered devices. How a continually evolving Google Play integrates and/or overlaps with the aforementioned YouTube streaming media service remains to be seen (as does how easy it will be to jump between and integrate the two services for the end user).
So where’s Apple in all this mess? They did kickstart the digital music revolution after all. After several years and countless rumors of an iRadio-like service launching within iTunes, all we’ve got are…well, rumors. Obviously, the the music labels are the ones holding the party up. So far, the biggest music streaming service, Spotify, has managed to do “ok” for them but it’s hardly the rain shower of dollar bills the recording industry and labels enjoyed back before the internet revolutionized music consumption. For Apple to continue sitting out in an increasingly crowded field is only hurting them. That said, there’s no doubt that a large chunk of Apple’s user base will hold out for an in-house solution as it will ultimately be tightly integrated with all of their products, both mobile and desktop. And to those people, that integration is key, and is exactly what’s made Apple’s ecosystem what it is today.
All that said, the idea of YouTube turning into an iTunes-like store that combines billions of pieces of user generated content alongside a vast catalog of professionally created content (audio and video) could make it a very important, very unique player in the coming few years.