Is There Trouble at YouTube?

Google picked up YouTube for around $1.65 billion in a move that was roundly criticized by everyone. Now YouTube us worth an estimated $80 billion and is now the largest source of music–audio and video–on the planet. Not a bad ROI, huh?

But are there problems at the company? RAIN looks at some rumours.

We learned recently that the official YouTube Music Key launch has been postponed, and two new rumors circulating about the popular video platform could provide some insight as to why.

First, there has been speculation that YouTube is aiming to make Music Key part of a bigger subscription video service, positioning it as a rival to Netflix and Hulu as well as to music-centric streaming platforms. Bloomberg reported that YouTube has signed content partners representing more than 90% of the site’s viewing onto this potential new paid subscription offering. That includes a whole range of YouTube-based talent, including music video channels, and an anonymous source told Bloomberg that there is a potential that Music Key may get lumped into this new offering. However, YouTube is missing content from traditional TV networks, which have been hesitant to put their clips behind a paywall on the site that has long offered them to viewers for free.

The second rumor is that music labels may be questioning the current status quo of YouTube’s ad-supported model.

Uh-oh. Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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