YouTube plans to ‘frustrate’ music fans into paying for its ad-free service

If a music streaming service started serving up more ads between tracks, would it persuade you to fork out for a subscription that eliminates those ads, or would it drive you to search out a rival service instead?

YouTube’s global head of music said in recent days the company plans to “frustrate” users into paying a monthly fee for its soon-to-launch music streaming service by serving up more ads with the free version. Lyor Cohen revealed the strategy during an interview at South by Southwest, Bloomberg reported.

The plan, the executive said, is to “smoke out” people who have the money to pay for the service and gently nudge them toward it. YouTube’s new subscription service, which is expected to launch this year after completion of final testing with thousands of its employees, will feature exclusive content such as music videos, behind-the-scenes footage, and playlists, with no ads interrupting the service.

Cohen said the idea would be to “frustrate and seduce” YouTube users to become subscribers, saying, “Once we do that, trust me, all that noise will be gone and articles people write about that noise will be gone.”

Offering an example, he said, “You’re not going to be happy after you’re jamming Stairway to Heaven and you get an ad right after that.”

Keen to clarify Cohen’s comments, YouTube insisted the company’s top priority is to “deliver a great user experience, and that includes ensuring users do not encounter excessive ad loads. For a specific subset of users who use YouTube like a paid music service today, and would benefit most from additional features, we may show more ads or promotional prompts to upsell to our paid service.” In other words, more ads for some users. Which may or may not annoy them.

YouTube hopes its subscription service will help to reassure record-industry executives who for a long time have complained of a lack of revenue from the streaming giant considering the number of people that use it to listen to music for free.

The Google-owned company has revealed few details about its forthcoming subscription service, which looks set to unite its paid Google Play Music offering with YouTube Music, a free app that landed three years ago offering music with ads.

Google launched Google Play Music in 2011, but it hasn’t fared well against the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. It followed up with Music Key in 2014, offering subscribers ad-free music videos, but a lack of interest saw Music Key succeeded by YouTube Red in 2015. Red eliminates ads and includes original programming, offline viewing, and background playback for $10 a month.

No subscription fees have been mentioned for YouTube’s upcoming service, but with both Spotify and Apple Music charging $10 a month for basic streaming plans, YouTube is expected to charge a similar amount.

Product Review

Optoma’s NuForce BE Free5 wireless earbuds cut the price, keep the good sound

Taking out all the wires and glossy paint, Optoma still gives its NuForce BE Free5 the goods to play audio better than Apple’s AirPods at a cheaper price. But are these the affordable true wireless earbuds for you?
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.

Verizon Unlimited users can now sign up for 6 free months of Apple Music

Verizon's latest offer stands to benefit both Apple Music and its own subscribers, as the one-of-a-kind deal is likely to be compelling to both existing and potential new subscribers. .

Google One subscriptions offer more cloud storage for low prices, other perks

Can't get enough storage on Google Drive, Photos, or Gmail? Google One is the new way to boost your cloud storage. But it's not just about more space -- Google One comes with a loads of benefits.

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

Listen up! These are the best movie soundtracks of all time

Whether you're a lover of beautifully composed original scores or a fan of perfectly compiled background music, these are the best movie soundtracks of all time — from Star Wars to Garden State.
Home Theater

Do you need an $8,000 gold-plated digital music player? Sony made one anyway

Sony's new DMP-Z1 digital music player features "audiophile-grade" sound quality and a gold-plated volume knob to let everyone around you know you take your music extremely seriously.

How to convert and play FLAC music files on your iPhone or iPad

The high-resolution revolution is upon us, and FLAC files are a popular way to store hi-res sound. But what if you’re an iOS user? Check out our article to find out more about FLAC files, and how to use them on Apple devices.

How to clean your records to keep them looking good and sounding sweet

Vinyl records are back in a big way, but the sound quality can suffer if you don't keep them clean. Check out our tips for keeping your vinyl and stylus immaculate, so you can hear every note of your favorite tunes.

T-Mobile partners with Live Nation, Pandora to offer customers more perks

T-Mobile made a few other announcements today: Not only has the carrier partnered up with Live Nation to provide offers, but customers will also be getting a free year of Pandora Plus.
Home Theater

Let your vinyl sound even better with one of the best phono preamps

Whether you're looking for a quick fix to set up your first turntable or a long-term audio upgrade for higher-quality sound, here are the best phono preamps you can buy that won't empty out your wallet.

Say a little prayer for Aretha Franklin: Iconic soul singer passes away at 76

Iconic soul singer Aretha Franklin has passed away at age 76. Considered among the most powerful voices of her generation, Franklin inspired millions with compelling songs about respect, prayer, and love.
Home Theater

The best MP3 player you can buy (and four alternatives)

Want to go for a run, but your phone is weighing you down? No worries. Can't fit your whole music library on your smartphone? Don't sweat it. Check out our list of the best MP3 players, and find one that works for you.
Home Theater

Crazybaby’s Air 1S true wireless earbuds won’t make you look like a dork

Audio technology company Crazybaby has launched the Air 1S true wireless earbuds, offering considerable connectivity improvements over previous models while retaining the sleek style and supreme comfort.