Heavy YouTube users will soon see an increase in ads between music videos, and YouTube's global head of music Lyor Cohen told Bloomberg it's part of a strategy to push users to subscribe to a premium music streaming service currently being developed by YouTube.
The changes, Cohen said at SXSW, are intended to "smoke out" YouTube users who can afford a subscription into paying for one. Cohen also hopes that more ads will improve YouTube's reputation, which has been criticized in the music industry for inadequate revenue and copyright violations.
“There’s a lot more people in our funnel that we can frustrate and seduce to become subscribers,” Cohen said. “Once we do that, trust me, all that noise [about revenue and violations] will be gone and articles people write about that noise will be gone.” YouTube generated around $10 billion in revenue through advertising, Bloomberg reports.
The upcoming subscription service "will include exclusive videos, playlists and other offerings that will appeal to die-hard music fans." It will mark YouTube's third attempt at a subscription plan. A March 2018 release was announced in December.
A representative from YouTube issued the following statement:
"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."
This post was updated on Wednesday March 21 at 6:50 p.m. to include a statement from YouTube