For many people, YouTube is their primary source for music. The release of YouTube Red a few years back made the listening experience better by ditching the ads. It also includes some non-music video content. Then there's Play Music, which includes Red. Now, Google's Lyor Cohen says in a talk at SXSW that his team is preparing a YouTube Music streaming service. Okay...
Google seemed to confirm last year that Play Music and YouTube Red would merge, but there hasn't been a peep on that front recently. There were also rumors of a YouTube Music service called "Remix" launching in March, and obviously, that's not happening yet. Remix could still be what Cohen is referencing in his talk, but we recently spotted something called YouTube Premiere in an APK teardown last month.
It's not clear what a YouTube Music streaming service could offer. Play Music already has YouTube integration thanks to the Red tie-in. Cohen did talk up the YouTube recommendation engine extensively in his talk, which could indicate that YouTube Music's paid tier will stress recommended playlists. Whatever's happening, YouTube seems to have changed direction several times. Maybe this will all work out, but I don't see how Google can launch a YouTube Music service without confusing its customers.