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YouTube Plans to 'Frustrate and Seduce' Users Into Paying for Music Subscriptions

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YouTube, the world largest video streaming platform, wants you to start paying money to watch Kendrick Lamar’s latest music video—and to force the issue, you’ll start seeing a lot more advertisements between specifically music videos.

Bloomberg reported that Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music, said during a SXSW interview that music video watchers will see advertisement increases the company hopes will annoying the shit out of viewers enough to buy into their new rumored streaming service, Remix.


Specifically, Cohen said:

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.


You—yes, you, the YouTube consumer, will be lovingly frustrated by a poor advertising experience, then be seduced into a monthly payment to avoid those unwelcoming ads. Sounds like a great plan: annoy your loyal user base until they pay money to not hate your product

Cohen is correct that YouTube is massive, and getting a fraction of them to use YouTube’s Remix would likely be a boon for the company. Bloomberg noted that Cohen needed to convince his own bosses about the value in forcing people to pay for YouTube. After all, it’s not like YouTube’s found a lot of success in getting people to pay for their product for before. (Sorry: YouTube Music, YouTube Red, YouTube TV, and, eventually, YouTube Please Pay For Me.)

Word of YouTube cramming more advertisements into its platform certainly won’t be welcome news for those of use who love using YouTube for music—I’m personally hurt. Although, I’ll give YouTube some time, and perhaps after my initial period of frustration, I’ll be slowly seduced.

Update 6:45pm ET, March 21st: A YouTube spokesperson told Gizmodo in an email that not all users will see more ads, but a “specific subset of users” might.


“Our top priority at YouTube is to deliver a great user experience and that includes ensuring users do not encounter excessive ad loads,” the spokesperson said. “We do not seek to specifically increase ad loads across YouTube. For a specific subset of users who use YouTube like a paid music service today—and would benefit most from additional features—we may show more ads or promotional prompts to upsell to our paid service.”