YouTube aims to “frustrate” music fans with more ads

Company wants people to sign up for its new music subscription service instead

YouTube will increase the number of ads for people that use the platform to listen to music in an attempt to encourage users to sign up to the company’s upcoming new music subscription service.

Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head Of Music, told Bloomberg at SXSW that a new music subscription service is in the works and that it will include exclusive videos, playlists and more. It’s already being trialled by thousands of Google employees, Cohen says.

Cohen goes on say that YouTube will aim to “frustrate and seduce” users of its free service. “You’re not going to be happy after you are jamming ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and you get an ad right after that,” he argues.


Cohen also outlines YouTube’s plans to “smoke out” people who can afford a subscription and aim to commit them to the new service.

“There’s a lot more people in our funnel that we can frustrate and seduce to become subscribers,” Cohen says. “Once we do that, trust me, all that noise will be gone and articles people write about that noise will be gone.”

The “noise” Cohen refers to this the criticism YouTube has often faced over copyright violation claims and allegations that it doesn’t pay enough royalties to artists and labels.

Cohen says that the company aims to make changes to become “good partners” to the music industry.

Following Cohen’s comments, YouTube has since issued a statement, saying: “Our top priority at YouTube is to deliver a great user experience and that includes ensuring users do not encounter excessive ad loads.”

“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.”


YouTube has come under fire in recent months over its content policy. The company was forced to apologise after star vlogger Logan Paul’s controversial “suicide forest” video.