Engadget quickly gave a brief overview of the early access version of YouTube Music that is slowly rolling out.
I want to avoid being too overly critical of something that isn’t quite available to everyone yet. With that said, this version of YouTube Music doesn’t look that great. The experience is confusing at best. It appears to be too tightly integrated with my YouTube account (ie. will subscribing to artists to add to library mess up my regular YouTube subscriptions?). The more I think about YouTube music the more I begin to understand that it’s just another view into YouTube, that will have some (eventual) Google Play Music features baked in.
The more I continue to think about it, the more it angers me that Google is unable to get this right. It angers me because I love music, have a LOT of obscure & indie music uploaded, and see the writing on the wall that eventually Google Play Music will be killed. Play Music is a decent streaming service, with a large catalog and differentiated features (music locker) that suffers from a confusing user experience and terrible branding. I wish Google would just fix Play Music.
Google Play Music redesign from Pixelshift.co.
- Redesign the app to be more easy to use.
- Move podcasts out of Google Play Music, they absolutely belong in a separate app.
- Do more human based music curation.
- Call it something else like Google Music (or even YouTube Music).
- Keep the price and continue to bundle it with YouTube Red.
As I continue to think about YouTube Music, this just seems like a business decision to coalesce around the YouTube brand for all things media at Google. Its not a terrible strategy. YouTube TV is a wonderful product and came out of the gate in a very strong position. YouTube Music needs to as well, but this first version doesn’t bode well for the future. I hope I’m wrong.
Update: I continued to think about it and have determined this “first” version of YouTube Music isn’t for me, but for the tens of millions of users who use YouTube as their streaming music app. YouTube Music is perfect for those coming from YouTube and I’ll continue to do most of my streaming in Play Music until they start the feature migration.