Do you remember a time before streaming. It feels like ages ago, but only 10 years ago, it was near impossible to stream anything in Nigeria; not music, and most certainly not hour long shows. But thanks to the internet, rapidly improving mobile technology and the technological savvy of a new generation of creators (anybody say 2 second streaming optimized songs), everything is moving digital and living on the cloud. Youtube is no stranger to streaming as a pioneer in the field and now a world leader in debuting new music. They tried VEVO, a specific service for music content creators to entice users to watch music on their platforms and now they are going all out with ‘Youtube Music’ their new premium streaming service.
As one of the platforms with an extensive catalogue of music, and video footage from artists (think behind the scenes documentaries, complementary interviews, vlogs and the same), Youtube is curating all of this interconnected but interspersed content on each music maker into one carefully catalogued platform called Youtube Music. Youtube Music will help artists present themselves in a more holistic, three-dimensional way, a feat other streaming services which are more optimized for audio, not video are still struggling to master.
Due to its on-demand nature and instant accessibility, streaming has become the primary means of content consumption. The advantage of this, is that anyone from almost anywhere in the world has access a wide catalogue at their fingertips and for their listening pleasure. In Nigeria, however, adoption of the streaming culture is still relatively low, mainly due to high cost of data and the dearth of disposable income by the average Nigerian. But that hasn’t stopped streaming platforms from setting up in the country, as they look to become first choice in a society that is increasingly becoming familiar on internet-based technologies.
YouTube is the newest streaming platform to offer the full range of its service to Nigerians. YouTube Music, the audio streaming service by Google-owned platform, has now began operations in Nigeria, offering people living in the country a listen to music from all over the world. The service offers a range of subscription options, including a free, ad-supported tier and premium tier membership for #900 (and #1,400 for family plan) monthly, which offers a background listening and in-app downloads.
With YouTube Music, subscribers get user-recommended playlists as well as thousands of curated genre, mood or activity based playlists. The app also comes with a smart search feature, where users can search for a song with whatever they can recall, be it a catchphrase from the song or a popular trait. Premium tier users can also enable automatic downloads, for their offline listening pleasure. YouTube Music premium is available for free for the first month, after which charges begin to apply.
Sure, Youtube will have to deal with the challenges of expensive data and a largely technology illiterate market place to navigate. The new Youtube Music app plans to mitigate that by allowing people who subscribe for its premium services download video content on phone based apps. It is also keep its free ad-supported tier for people who still want to enjoy the service without the hassle of subscriptions. Add user recommended playlists to discover new music and smart search options that allow you search for music using key words or even lyrics or even humming like Shazam, will keep things interesting.
Will Nigerians pay for Youtube Music, if they can get most of the perks for free?
We’ll have to wait and see.