Google’s got a new challenge for Apple Music

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YouTube Music
Google Play Music is reportedly merging with YouTube Music.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

In the streaming music battle, the competition is between Spotify and Apple Music. Google Play Music is barely a blip, with 4 percent of the U.S. market.

But the situation is more complex than that. Google’s YouTube video service actually dominates streaming music, though it isn’t supposed to be in that business at all.

According to unconfirmed reports, Google plan is to merge its music service with another, and also turn millions of free YouTube listeners into paying customers.

YouTube Music will be the new name, according to droidlife. So far, this seems to be more of a re-branding than anything else, as there’s already a YouTube Music service. It’s almost unknown, though.

Google Play Music is reportedly going to meld into YouTube Music and then shut down by the end of this year. Current users will be transitioned over.

Leave YouTube for YouTube Music. Or Apple Music

But the main method YouTube Music will grow is by Google driving people away from using the YouTube video service for listening to streaming music. Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music, said last month that her company will soon begin greatly increasing the number of ads served to those who play song after song after song.

Of course, people could just as easily switch to Apple Music. Or Spotify’s free option.

Any move away from the video version of YouTube should benefit musicians and songwriters, though. YouTube pays artists $0.00074 every time it plays a song, according the The Trichordist. Google Music pays $0.00611. While that still seems a paltry sum, it’s over 8 times as much. Presumably, YouTube Music will pay somewhere in that range, as it’s also close to what Apple Music pays.