After lurking in the shadows of Apple Music and Spotify, YouTube revamped its streaming service, YouTube Music, on May 22. The service (first launched in November 2015) offers two tiers: a free option supported by ads and an ad-free option called YouTube Music Premium for $9.99 a month. Currently available in the United States, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Korea, YouTube Music will soon expand to 14 more countries.
Is there room in the market for another streaming music service? Before streaming services gained popularity, consumers may have downloaded songs onto their iPods or smartphones and turned to Pandora or iHeartRadio to listen to music. But now, consumers seek more efficient and personalized listening experiences. We looked at the online conversation to assess consumer reactions to the new and improved YouTube Music.
The Rise of YouTube Music
The YouTube streaming discussion has grown significantly from 2010 to 2018. Conversation spiked when YouTube Music officially launched in November 2015. The most significant growth occurred between Q4 2017 and Q1 2018. In Q1 2018, YouTube Music partnered with celebrities like Camila Cabello for the ‘Made in Miami’ spotlight story.
Despite the buzz, YouTube Music hasn’t really chipped away at the two services dominating the online conversation: Spotify and Apple Music.
But there is hope for YouTube Music: consumers view the service favorably.
Sentiment for YouTube streaming services became increasingly positive from 2014 to 2018. In 2014, when YouTube first announced that it will launch a streaming service the next year, consumers reacted with confusion. With Google Play Music (Google is YouTube’s parent company) and YouTube Red, consumers found it difficult to distinguish the different streaming options. However, consumers seem to be warming up to YouTube Music. Positive attributes include the design and playlist. Consumers found the home screen aesthetically pleasing and the playlists customized to their music taste.
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@youtubemusic I’m in love with all the non-stop hits! Your Playlists and Stations are amazing! No one compares! The app is soooooooo sexy! I love everything about it! Great job!
— TonePhotoSD (@ShaneImages) May 26, 2018
The first video in my automatic youtube music mix playlist is Meiling’s fighting theme
You know me too well, Youtube
— Yuri Chrysler (@chidnatea) May 25, 2018
What Do Consumers Think About the Revamped YouTube Music?
The new and improved YouTube Music boasts several noteworthy features, like Your Mixtapes, a personalized playlist containing music you’ve listened to and music the algorithm predicts you’ll like. It also integrates the video component that YouTube is known for. The most discussed feature is the video component, with 64 percent share of voice. People enjoy the ability to view music videos on YouTube Music. Playlist is the second most discussed feature, with 28 percent share of voice. Playlist creation is integral to any streaming service. Six percent of the conversation was about the cost. At $9.99 a month, YouTube Music is as expensive as Spotify Premium. Other components of the features conversation are personalization and design. Consumers seek a streaming service that adapts to their music taste and a seamless design.
Trying out @youtubemusic —
+ recommendations adapt quickly
+ good library
+ “mixtape” (like Spotify’s Daily Mix) on-point
– audio quality is average at best
– recommendations are a little too safe
– mobile app animations get in the way
– creating playlists feels like a chore
— Matt Silverlock (@elithrar) May 25, 2018
Streaming Services Demographics
Comparing the gender demographics across the three streaming platforms, YouTube Music is most favored by females, with females encompassing 67 percent of the discussion.
Looking at age demographics, YouTube Music draws the youngest crowd, with 49 percent of the conversation from those aged 17 and below.
Though streaming music is a relatively new technology, it has proven to be a force in the music industry. By looking at the conversation on YouTube Music, we are able to assess its overall popularity, discover the features that resonate with consumers, and understand the YouTube Music audience. Brands seeking to compete in that space can discover what consumers desire in an ideal streaming service and understand their audience.