YouTube today announced its new music-streaming app, YouTube Music. Unlike the traditional YouTube app, YouTube Music promises an infinite stream of music videos—call up a song or artist, watch a video, and a related video loads up immediately and automatically. It’s a process that can theoretically roll on forever—or at least until the concept of “related” brings you all the way from, say, Pavement to Mannheim Steamroller.
The idea is that the app’s recommendations engine will enable users to more easily discover new music. In a blog post, as Variety reports, T. Jay Fowler, YouTube’s director of music product management, recently said, “With YouTube Music, you’ll get a completely new type of experience, designed to make discovering music on YouTube easier than ever.” It’s a presumed niche in the music-streaming market that the video company is banking on being able to fill; unlike Spotify, Apple Music, or Google’s own streaming-music platform, YouTube Music does not allow users to create playlists. Consider it either a video-driven version of Pandora or a highly personalized MTV.
While the app will play ads, an ad-free version is available for subscribers to YouTube’s recently launched YouTube Red service. Red subscribers will also be able to play music in the background and listen to tracks offline.
But the biggest surprise is in the content itself. In addition to officially licensed versions of songs, the app will deliver remixes, covers, and live recordings. This quiet allowance for non-authorized versions of their artists’s material represents a small evolution of thought on the part of the record labels with whom YouTube Music has partnered. How that allowance will influence future streaming services remains to be seen.
YouTube Music is available now for iOS and Android.