YouTube Music is going to come pre-installed on Android devices, Google has announced.
The service – which has struggled to seize a significant portion of the music streaming market – will replace the relatively unsuccessful Google Play Music app.
The move is more a matter of Google consolidating its estate of products rather than attempting to meet the standards of competitors.
YouTube Music will come pre-installed on new Android smartphones and will be included in the next version of its operating system, which will simply be known as Android 10 after Google ditched its dessert-themed naming conventions.
YouTube has two billion monthly active users, many of whom use it to listen to music, but the company’s dedicated music streaming service only had 15 million subscribers as of May – less than 0.8% of YouTube’s user base.
To date, YouTube Music has underperformed compared with rival services in terms of monthly active users, including Spotify with 223 million and Apple Music with 60 million subscribers.
Unlike these rival apps, the free version of YouTube Music does not allow those users to listen to the audio of their favourite songs while the app is running in the background.
This interruption to the user experience has not helped it win paying subscribers, nor has the app’s access to music from YouTube as well as from official album releases.
Google has started rolling out the newest version of its mobile operating system, with its own line of Pixel smartphones the first to receive the update.
Android 10 includes a much-requested dark mode and a “smart reply” feature, which allows users to shoot off a rapid response to a message as suggested by their phone.
New gesture controls allowing users to swipe rather than tap to go backwards are also on board, and dozens of privacy and security enhancements have been added.
These include an incognito mode for the Google Maps app, extra controls regarding advertising web and app activity, and options for parents who want to limit how much their children use their device.