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Google plans to roll out a major transformation of its subscriber content model next week with the relaunch of YouTube Music, a service designed to take on streaming providers Apple Music and Spotify, and the replacement of YouTube Red with YouTube Premium.
Set to debut on Tuesday, May 22, the new YouTube Music takes a page out of Spotify's book and will be offered in two flavors: an ad-supported free tier and a monthly $9.99 subscription service with free trial period.
The idea is for YouTube Music to eventually replace Google Play Music, which Google was running as a competing platform to its original YouTube Music service, though when that transition will take place is undecided, reports USA Today.
Using artificial intelligence smarts, YouTube Music is expected to offer a curated listening experience similar to those marketed by segment leaders. Google intends to mine its deep cache of user data to customize the service, from YouTube viewing histories to other usage statistics available to Google Assistant. A new mobile app and desktop player "designed for music" will play home to the platform.
In a statement to Pitchfork, YouTube executive T. Jay Fowler said the app will be able to recommend songs and playlists based on time of day, location and listening patterns. It also features "an audio experience and a video experience," suggesting Google intends to push music videos to customers in a fashion similar to Apple Music.
In addition to YouTube Music, Google is rebranding YouTube Red to YouTube Premium and in doing so will strip away bonus features in an effort towards consolidation.
Previously, the $9.99-per-month YouTube Red granted access to exclusive shows, subscriptions to both YouTube Music and Google Play Music, ad removal across YouTube and offline caching for music.
Once YouTube Music rolls out, YouTube Premium will be available as a $2-per-month add-on and will provide ad-free viewing for all of YouTube, as well as access to YouTube Originals. According to Recode, YouTube Music removes ads from music videos and enables offline and background listening.
Existing YouTube Red subscribers will be charged the current $9.99 rate when YouTube Music goes live.
YouTube Music starts rolling out on Tuesday in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea before making its way to another 14 countries.