YouTube exec says new music service will “frustrate and seduce” free listeners

YouTube is aware of how many people use its video service as a free way to stream music. According to Lyor Cohen, then company is going to try to counter that trend with a deluge of ads. The global head of music for YouTube spoke to Bloomberg at SXSW about how the company is changing its ad serving. When somebody passively listens for long stretches, they will be served more ads.

“You’re not going to be happy after you are jamming ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and you get an ad right after that,” Cohen said.

This is part of an effort to promote YouTube’s new upcoming music subscription product. Few details about it have been disclosed, although Bloomberg reports that thousands of Google employees are already using it. The service will include exclusive videos, playlists, and other content designed to target serious music fans.

“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.”

The noise he mentions are critiques from artists and other music thought-leaders that YouTube does not contribute enough money into the industry where it commands a large number of listening hours.

Anna Washenko