Google Play Music and YouTube Red could merge into the ultimate streaming service

Could you, off the top of your head, name the differences between Google Play Music, YouTube Red and YouTube Music? Do you know which one offers more songs? Do you know what the price difference is? How about the benefits of each service? 

If you can’t answer those questions, don’t worry. Turns out one of Google’s top execs is confused about the whole thing, too. 

The person in question is Lyor Cohen, Google’s emissary to the larger music world, and his problem with Google’s music streaming services is that they’re just too similar. 

So, what’s his solution? Combine them into a new super service that spans both YouTube and the larger music streaming world that could take on the market leader: Spotify. 

Cohen’s plans were unfurled during a panel session for the New Music Seminar conference in New York where, according to The Verge, when he was asked about why YouTube Red isn't more popular with music users, he responded, "The important thing is combining YouTube Red and Google Play Music, and having one offering."

It’s important to point out, however, that Google has yet to rubber stamp Cohen’s plan, and Cohen was largely speaking about his own issues with the services rather than any set plans for the near future. 

If the changes were to happen, Google says it would give users notice well in advance: "Music is very important to Google and we’re evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners, and artists," the company said in a statement sent to The Verge. 

"Nothing will change for users today and we’ll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made."

Music streaming harder, better, faster, stronger

A single combined service would fix a few issues the services have in their current state. See, the way things are now, a subscription to YouTube Red gets you a subscription to Google Play Music and vice versa. YouTube Red was first launched to disable ads on YouTube videos, but then also became a music streaming service in its own right when Google built-in the ability to stream music directly from music videos on YouTube. 

One unified service would potentially bring a united front against the likes of Spotify and potentially help in negotiations with record companies.

Will Google eventually combine all its streaming services into one Voltron-esque super service? Who knows, we might just Get Lucky.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.