LOS ANGELES (TIP): YouTube on October 21 unveiled a new $10-a-month subscription plan in the US called Red that combines ad-free videos, new original series, movies from top YouTubers, and on-demand unlimited streaming music.
Red builds on Google’s existing music streaming service by providing ad-free access to YouTube programming, along with features such as the ability to download videos to mobile devices and have music playing in the background while using other mobile apps.
YouTube Red will expand to other major markets next year. For users of iPhones and other Apple Inc. devices, the service will cost $12.99 a month. The subscription price for Apple users is more expensive because Apple charges app makers a 30% fee on in-app purchases such as subscriptions, a Google spokeswoman said.
“We’re realizing paid membership is a really hard business to be in,” said YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl at a press event Wednesday at YouTube’s campus near the Los Angeles International Airport, a sprawling space where YouTube stars and mainstream artists frequently perform and make videos. To compete, Mr. Kyncl said the company focused on its exclusive content and the “most desired” features on subscription services, such as offline capabilities.
YouTube’s new music app will also seek to differentiate itself from competitors. For instance, subscribers will have access not just to the same 30 million-song library that they do on Spotify and Apple Music, but also to an easily searchable database of each artist’s music videos, live performance videos, covers, remixes and other unofficial versions of their songs.
The music app will be free to download and use, but subscribing will remove ads and unlock additional background and offline features. App users get a 14-day free YouTube Red membership without entering a credit card number, and can extend their trial for an additional 30 days after entering credit card information.