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YouTube will soon place more advertisements in between music videos for some users, in an attempt to “smoke out” anyone who treats YouTube like a free music video playlist service and convince them to pay for its upcoming subscription music service (via Bloomberg). YouTube’s unnamed service is described as a “necessary counterweight” to Apple Music and Spotify, and was last rumored to be launching this month.


The news came from a recent SXSW interview with YouTube’s global head of music, Lyor Cohen, who went so far as to say that the company is trying to “frustrate” free YouTube users so that they’re subsequently “seduced” into paying for a monthly subscription. The new service will include exclusive videos, music playlists, and more, all aimed at “die-hard music fans.”

People who treat YouTube like a music service, those passively listening for long periods of time, will encounter more ads, according to Lyor Cohen, the company’s global head of music. “You’re not going to be happy after you are jamming ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and you get an ad right after that,” Cohen said in an interview at the South by Southwest music festival.

“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.”

Cohen said that YouTube is trying to “be good partners” with the music industry, while also hoping to silence any rumors about the company’s alleged harm to the industry and its artists. Over the years, some people have criticized YouTube for copyright violations in videos and underpaying artists and record companies. According to Cohen, this “noise” will end once the subscription service debuts.

A date for that launch has still not been given, but “thousands” of Google employees are said to be testing it right now.

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