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YOUTUBE MUSIC STREAMS IN: IS IT REALLY A "GAME CHANGER"?

Great Reviews for App That

YouTube took the training wheels off its music service Thursday, unveiling YouTube Music as a service designed to foster the discovery of new music.

Clips for a dizzing array of videos, old and new, appear in this kinetic, playful introductory video.

Once a user presses play on a song on YouTube Music, a playlist is created, pulling from the video service's 30 million licenses tracks.

Out of the gate, the service has immediately delineated itself from Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play. Unlike other streaming services, as a video-driven service, YouTube can present a listener with options such as  live concert footage, karaoke tracks and  instructional videos that don’t exist on any other music streaming service.

The app launched 11/12  as a free download for Apple iOS and Android devices in the U.S., replacing the YouTube Music Key app. Like other services, the free tier includes ads and a pay tier – YouTube Red at 10 bucks a month – is available as well.

Since its emphasis is on music discovery and non-stop streaming, YouTube Music has one element that some may see as a drawback: Users cannot create playlists. Instead, playlists are created by algorithms that draw on  a user’s listening history.

YouTube Music's home screen offers “My Station” plus two genre stations that deliver selections based on listening patterns.  Its feature My Mix combines tracks listened to, searched for and liked plus recommended music—and ads. For YouTube Red subscribers, the My Mix playlist is automatically saved for offline playback and the ads disappear.

The service will have its own chart, the Daily 40, that will tally the music being listened to and shared the most.

Press response to new service has been overwhelmingly positive. The Verge declaring it “a game-changer.” Wired spelled out the advantage YouTube Music has over Spotify, Apple, Tidal and the like: While artists such as Taylor Swift have approved only limited access to their recordings for streaming, they have allowed their videos to be placed on YouTube with no constraints. In addition, YouTube's audience is 1 billion users, vs. Spotify’s 75m and and Apple Music’s 15m.

It’s also worth noting that the YouTube audience is accustomed to playing an active “curatorial” role in music selection and creation as opposed to the passive nature of radio.

“The app gives you complete access to one of the richest music catalogs on Earth,”  T. Jay Fowler, YouTube’s director of product management and a former exec at MOG, which Apple morphed into Beats, wrote on the YouTube blog this morning. “You’ll be able to quickly find music videos, tracks, artists and albums, but you’ll also see all the remixes, covers, lyric videos and concert footage that YouTube has to offer.”

He noted that YouTube and Google have paid out more than $3 billion to the record industry to date. “But it’s also provided an incredible source of promotion for artists, helping fuel ticket sales, move merchandise, and boost album and song downloads,” he wrote.

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