YouTube To “Frustrate” Users With Ads So They Pay For Music

Right now, a whole lot of people use YouTube as a de facto music streaming service, searching for songs on the site rather than opening up Spotify or Apple Music. But YouTube is planning on launching its own paid music-subscription service in order to compete with Spotify and Apple Music. And in an effort to drive up those subscriptions, the company has announced that part of its strategy is pretty simple: More ads! Everyone who hates YouTube ads — which is basically everyone on the face of the earth — will have to pay to avoid the increased volume.

Talking to Bloomberg, the former Def Jam exec Lyor Cohen, now YouTube’s global head of music, says that he wants to “smoke out” people who can afford to pay for streaming music, turning them into YouTube subscribers: “There’s a lot more people in our funnel that we can frustrate and seduce to become subscribers. Once we do that, trust me, all that noise will be gone and articles people write about that noise will be gone.”

Cohen also adds that the increased ad volume, as well as the subscription fees, will help make YouTube a better partner with the music industry: “[Music companies] will appreciate, in time, the advertising. Everyone is drunk on the growth of subscription.”

It makes its own mercenary kind of sense, but it’s strange to hear a tech exec talking about efforts to make his site’s users unhappy. But that’s what YouTube aims to do to people who just leave YouTube’s automatically-generated playlists running for long periods of time: “You’re not going to be happy after you are jamming ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and you get an ad right after that.”

YouTube’s streaming service will reportedly also include exclusive videos and playlists.