YouTube’s audience is unique. They love to engage. They watch, like, and share. They make remixes, covers, lyrics clips, and response videos. And they do this for everything that’s already part of the YouTube collection, including official music videos, fan videos, and concert footage.
Now, YouTube is taking this massive corpus, mixing in some neat new features, and opening it up to everyone as a standalone app with a clear focus on just the music. Today, the company is launching its first official standalone music app called, well, YouTube Music.
My favorite feature of all is something called the offline mixtape. You determine how much of your phone’s data you’re willing to spare for songs, pick the audio quality, and let the app make you a playlist. It’s a lot like Spotify’s excellent Discover feature, except it’s refreshed daily, not weekly. The offline mixtape is another exclusive for YouTube Red subscribers.
The manner that Google has been able to develop and expand YouTube is remarkable. The YouTube that they acquired in 2006 is still recognizable today, but its present culture and varied uses of the service (such as this music focus) would be alien then. I’m certainly interested in the ‘offline mixtape’ and what YouTube does with it, as well as the integration of user generated content. Some things need to be solved … the way that YouTube presents its auto-generated music ‘videos’ is a bit clunky (here’s an example) and I’m curious how that will translate to the YouTube Music app. And there’s also the familiar issue of YouTube’s fuzzy transparency with how music creators are getting paid.