YouTube Red is ‘a music service’ and is about to expand around the globe, says Susan Wojcicki

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Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, has stated that her company primarily sees subscription offering YouTube Red as a “music service” – while confirming plans to roll out the paid-for platform to around 100 countries.

YouTube Red gives its subscribers – who typically pay $9.99-a-month – access to ad-free YouTube videos, in addition to exclusive and original premium content.

These subscribers also have the ability to download videos, and to play YouTube content in the ‘background’ while using other apps on their device.

Speaking at the Code Media summit in California yesterday (Feb 12), Wojcicki commented: “YouTube Red is a service that is really a music service. We have an amazing collection of music; we have all these music videos.

“And then on top of that it [offers] the ability to watch all of YouTube ads free, with the background and offline services. And on top of that we’ve actually been doing a number of YouTube Originals – we’ve done about 50 in the last two years.”

The exec said that, within these YouTube Originals, the service was now “doing more with music”, citing recent projects with US stars Demi Lovato and Katy Perry.

The clear categorization of Youtube Red as a music-first platform comes at an interesting juncture: YouTube is widely expected to reveal a new Spotify rival, currently codenamed Remix, in the coming weeks.

‘Remix’ looks likely to supersede Google Play Music, and has reportedly been made possible by YouTube’s recent deal renewals with the likes of Universal, Sony and Warner.

As for YouTube Red, the platform is currently only available in five territories: the US, Australia, Mexico, South Korea and New Zealand.

But according to Wojcicki, YouTube’s recent high-profile music licensing deals is about to change all that.

“We’re only in five countries right now. Now that we’ve finished all of our music deals we’re going to be expanding.”

“This year you’ll also see Red expand into many more countries,” she said at the Code Media conference. “We’re only in five countries right now. Now that we’ve finished all of our music deals we’re actually going to be expanding to a large number of countries.”

When pushed on what ‘a large number’ might look like, Wojcicki said: “Many… like, I don’t know… a hundred.”

YouTube Red officially launched in October 2015 as an evolution of ‘YouTube Music Key’ which had previously operated in beta for selected invitees.

You can watch Susan Wojcicki’s full interview with Recode co-founder Kara Swisher below.

Music Business Worldwide

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