YouTube to “frustrate” users with ads in push for paid subscriptions

Audio / Google / Tech

Yeaaah… that’s not the best way to endear yourself to potential subscribers.

YouTube is obviously home to millions of cat videos, but it’s also home to quite a few music videos. If you watch a lot of music videos on YouTube you’ve probably also noticed the curated “My Mix” playlists that it creates. You’d almost certainly also have noticed that you’re served advertising before or even during nearly every popular video that you watch on the platform. If you’re a user that streams a lot of music from YouTube, you may soon notice even more ads interrupting your musical playlists. This is in an effort to “frustrate” users and push them towards paid subscriptions to a YouTube music service.

The company isn’t just trying to push users to a paid subscription, they’ve been working to make it more enticing to have the paid subscription, adding exclusive content, playlists, and other new features that should appeal to music fans. The hope is that the new offerings will make the paid service seem more palatable.

YouTube’s official reasoning sounds pretty reasonable:

Our top priority at YouTube is to deliver a great user experience, and that includes ensuring users do not encounter excessive ad loads. For a specific subset of users who use YouTube like a paid music service today — and would benefit most from additional features — we may show more ads or promotional prompts to upsell to our paid service.

Though Google’s new head of music, Lyor Cohen makes it sound just a tiny bit more nefarious:

Cohen said he prevailed upon his colleagues and bosses to make some changes to “be good partners” to the music industry. They will “smoke out” people who can afford to pay for a subscription and shepherd them to the new service.

“There’s a lot more people in our funnel that we can frustrate and seduce to become subscribers,” Cohen said. “Once we do that, trust me, all that noise will be gone and articles people write about that noise will be gone.”

Yeaaah… that’s not the best way to endear yourself to potential subscribers. YouTube already makes a ton of money via advertising, though the music industry would prefer if they made more money (and then gave more of that money to the music industry) via paid subscriptions, so we’ll see how that turns out for them.

Would you be more likely to pay for a music subscription if the alternative was more ads interrupting your music? How do you feel about Cohen saying he’d like to “frustrate” users? Tell us all about it in the comment section below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: Bloomberg
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