Music Industry

YouTube won’t introduce its music service at SXSW

Don’t look for YouTube’s music service to launch at SXSW

There’s a month’s worth of panel discussions, concerts, art exhibits and new product launches to take in during SXSW in Austin this week.

But YouTube’s music service launch won’t be part of it.

YouTube’s Global Head of Music, Lyor Cohen, is leading a discussion on the seismic changes he’s seen during his time in the industry and the importance of accepting and embracing technology. But his own company’s music service isn’t involved in the future. At least not yet.

“It was never our plan to launch at the festival,” a spokesperson told Variety.

Even though that’s been the rumor for months, it’s not happening.

What YouTube has been able to do is secure agreements with all three major labels, giving them access to most big artists directly and any vanity imprints contained therein.

“Sources with knowledge of Google’s plans told Variety that the company recently made the decision to significantly scale back YouTube’s presence on the ground in Austin and instead use the event to highlight some of Google’s other products and initiatives,” the magazine says.

“YouTube’s decision not to use SXSW, and the appearances of key executives at the event, as the Launchpad for YouTube Music could mean that the service simply isn’t ready for a public unveiling. There have also been mixed messages about the way Google is going to position the service, especially as it relates to premium video on YouTube,” Variety says.

This might seem rather sudden and unexpected a change of course, considering as recently as December sites like MacRumors was calling on YouTube to make a big splash at the festival. The last hurdles to release, at least at that time, appeared to be securing rights agreements with Universal and Sony, deals that have since been sealed and settled.


Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

Amber Healy has 520 posts and counting. See all posts by Amber Healy

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