Earlier this December, Bloomberg reported that the subscription music service of YouTube could launch as early as March 2018. However, that ongoing and unresolved negotiations with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment could stop that launch date from happening. However, Bloomberg currently reports that both music labels have signed on long-term agreements with YouTube.
The Universal and Sony contracts set royalty rates for music video rights holders and, more importantly, promise a much more aggressive policing of copyrighted songs that are user-uploaded. In May, Warner Music Group signed on a “shorter than usual” deal with YouTube an agreement that did not seem to meet the piracy-fighting expectations of Warner. With these agreements set in place, YouTube can now pursue its Spotify-like subscription service more fully, which will reportedly include content that are not available on the free service of YouTube.
Historically, YouTube has not historically gotten along well with the music industry, which considers that the site does not police misuse of copyrighted material adequately and has held back the growth of the industry. Also, while the agreement of Warner with YouTube was shorter-term than the usual to afford the firm “more options in the future,” it is not clear how long the contracts of Sony and Universal are for. However, if everything goes well going forward, users could have yet another music streaming service available on the market very soon.