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YouTube Content Chief Says Music Key to Launch in ‘Few Months,’ Talks Company’s Mobile Strategy

Who’s worried about the delay of YouTube’s music subscription service, Music Key? Not YouTube, this according to the company’s head of content, Robert Kyncl, who told reporters in a Google Hangout session that “we’re still going through some development” and that the recently extended beta period for the service was only a minor setback. 

“The launch is coming in a few months from here: there’s a little bit of a delay, but nothing too serious,” he said, according to The Guardian. “We have been collecting a lot of feedback and working with that. We got a lot of really great feedback, and thought it was better to address most of it than to launch without [addressing] it … We’re a lot smarter about the product from the heaviest users.”

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YouTube Music Key was introduced to beta users six months ago. The company recently announced it would extend that beta period until at least Sept. 15, but Kyncl was careful not to pinpoint when it’ll be street-ready. “I can’t promise the date,” he said. “It’s already going a little too far even saying ‘a few months.'”

As for the development of a broader ad-free subscription for the rest of YouTube, which turns 10 this year, Kyncl insisted that the company’s top priority for the time being is making sure Music Key is done right. “We just can’t do many different subscriptions, and do them well, and grow them large,” he explained. “So we’re focusing on one big effort today.”

Kyncl also spoke at length about YouTube’s shift in focus to mobile, which it says accounts for half its views. “We think it’s all about mobile, and that’s where we’re putting most of our efforts across the board,” he said, citing product and content development, along with quality assurance. “We think that phone is the remote control for your life, and it’s definitely the remote control for your video.”

He also had a message for brands and advertising agencies thinking about spending their money on television or other mediums. “Today, there is a very growing influence on culture from the internet firms, YouTube included, and there’s a tremendous amount of growth on mobile. If advertisers want to capture the future of video and participate in this growth, they should partner with the firms that are doing incredibly well in mobile video. We’re certainly one of those.”

Google makes a point not to break out how valuable its YouTube unit is on its own, but a recent study by Bank of America analyst Justin Post pegs it at $70 billion — which would land it at No. 67 on the S&P 500. Kyncl points to the “mainstream-ness of online video” to help explain YouTube’s accelerated growth rate. He also had nothing but positive things to say about YouTube’s ad-supported model, but also praised paid subscription models, like Netflix.

“If you think about advertising-supported video globally, it’s a little bit above $200 billion a year in revenue. If you think about subscriptions, it’s little bit above $200 billion. Equal markets. Somehow we’re not eating each other’s lunch,” he said. “Even if all the firms grew really large, we’re not really bumping into one another anytime soon.”

Read more about Kyncl’s conference call at The Guardian.