YouTube has a fancy new logo, but the company's fancy new music streaming service is not available yet. The world's favorite video platform had been expected to enter the music streaming market at the start of the year.
However, according to Billboard, it now looks as if the service, which is expected to offer videos rather than simply audio tracks, won't be pumping through a stereo near you until the summer, because it's not good enough yet.
"They feel that there's just too much scrutiny of this product, and that they need to get it right out of the gate," a senior label executive is quoted as saying.
This is understandable considering how long its competitors have had to finesse their services. The decision is also a departure from the typical approach of its parent company, Google. Everything the search giant launches, from web-based email to maps, is in a constant beta state: the services develop and become perfect with time and ongoing user feedback or they disappear almost as quickly as they're launched.
Billboard goes on to say that one of the major sticking points at the moment is visual presentation. What if a requested track doesn't have an official video? How will a service that aims to differentiate itself with visuals deal with this problem?
One solution being tested is to provide static images alongside information about the artist or the track in question. Another is a video created on the fly with stills or images that respond to beat and tempo.
The second big sticking point is making sure that potential users see the benefit in the service. YouTube is already used as a massive hub of free music. How do you create a compelling service that is potentially going to carry a premium subscription using content that is also technically free to access?