YouTube Music’s Growth Threatens Domestic Music Streaming Platforms
The growth trajectory of YouTube Music, a dedicated music streaming service offered by YouTube, in the South Korean music market is remarkable. Despite controversies surrounding YouTube Premium services and “piggybacking,” the platform has expanded its user base by enhancing communication through features such as music commentaries, posing a challenge to homegrown music streaming platforms.
According to the IT industry sources on the 28th, recent figures indicate a significant increase in YouTube Music’s user numbers.
As per Mobile Index, the monthly active users (MAU) of YouTube Music (combining both Android and iOS) in the previous month reached 6.04 million, marking an increase of 230,000 compared to the previous month’s 5.81 million. Furthermore, the gap between YouTube Music and Melon, South Korea’s leading music streaming service, has narrowed down to 730,000 users.
The addition of features like the ability to leave comments on songs, express sympathy or dissent, and interact with music reviews has attracted new users. There is a growing belief that user preferences for comment-based services will rise, particularly due to the worldwide surge in interest in K-pop.
This situation has left the domestic music streaming service industry in a state of concern, primarily due to the fairness issues between foreign and domestic platforms that are essentially operating in a regulatory gray area. Currently, Google offers YouTube Music for free with its YouTube Premium service, which allows ad-free video streaming. This situation has led to frustration among domestic music streaming platforms that rely on paid subscriptions for revenue.
One industry insider stated, “Starting in November, if YouTube Premium members are unable to skip ads without viewing them, we can expect an increase in YouTube Premium subscribers. Consequently, the number of YouTube Music users will also likely rise.”
Meanwhile, the Fair Trade Commission has been investigating since February whether Google Korea’s practice of bundling YouTube Music with YouTube Premium constitutes an abuse of its dominant position.