Youtube Red, Google’s answer to Spotify Premium, has been around in the U.S. for quite some time now. One might think that would give the folks at Google time to sort out any technical or public image issues they encountered, but this isn’t necessarily true. As Mashable discovered, people have been concerned that YouTube Red might not pay artists fairly given that a subscription to the streaming service is $9.99 U.S.
Other services like Spotify Premium and Pandora One have been notorious for this same issue, charging about $10 per month on average for a subscription while paying cents or even fractions of a cent in royalties to artists. Apple Music, too, was famously called out by Taylor Swift for not paying artists royalties when users streamed songs during a free trial of the subscription service. Apple Music has since changed course on this policy.
YouTube Red offers a slew of benefits to premium users, including the ability to stream videos in the background and download them for listening offline. There are also no ads for users who decide to subscribe to YouTube Red, and songs become easier to wrangle up into a playlist, allowing for more non-stop music.
One unique benefit to buying a YouTube Red subscription is that it also comes with a premium subscription to Google Play Music. This gives you the ability to play just about any song you want and also removes all ads from Google Play Music. Plus, you can watch YouTube music videos in Google Play, all for the same price. But the question still remains: is Google paying artists fairly, if at all?
To set the record straight on this, FastCompany.com pulled some facts on Youtube Red’s royalty payouts from the Recording Industry Association of America, a trade organization that represents artists in the U.S.
“The smallest category [of streaming revenue in the US] was “On-Demand Ad-Supported” revenue, amounting to just $385 million. That’s the bucket into which YouTube’s proceeds flow, along with the ad revenue from Spotify’s freemium customers.”
Though there’s no exact number given, it’s pretty safe to say that YouTube Red probably pays less than the average streaming platform. The site’s massive catalog is also available to everyone for free at any given moment, so this also raises questions involving royalties for music streaming. Should singers get a fee every time someone wants to listen to their favorite song? If so, would Google pass that cost onto users and what kind fee might they see in the future?
There are also some technical glitches with the Australia and New Zealand launch of YouTube Red. Business Insider Australia reported being unable to launch the free trial after having signed up. If this problem occurs for you as well, refreshing the page or visiting it at a later date might solve the problem.
If you’re lucky enough to sign up for the free trial, you’ll essentially have an unending playlist of ad-free music on call 24/7. Unfortunately, even a trial version of YouTube Red will require your credit card, but if you remember to cancel on time or don’t mind paying this shouldn’t be much of an issue. The YouTube Red subscription will renew itself automatically on the first of the month, so make sure to leave a few days before a new month starts if you’re going to cancel.
[Image Via YouTube.com]