In the midst of continuing struggles to launch a music subscription service, YouTube’s head of the endeavor is now leaving the company. Chris LaRosa is leaving Google to join a startup, which spokespeople have yet to name. He was the second person to front YouTube’s music service that left within the past twelve months; Nikhil Chandhok, who according to his personal LinkedIn profile had been in charge of music, paid subscriptions and live streaming with YouTube, left the company last fall.
This recent departure is yet another blow to YouTube, in the wake of its maddening efforts to get its music subscription service off the ground after a year of development. Delays have been chalked up to internal arguments over the service’s function and design—which features should be available for free and which for pay, how to integrate subscription with the generally free platform, and other such issues. Preliminary unreleased versions of the service showed it to have no advertisements, the ability to play music while switching between apps on mobile devices, and a storage capability for short-term offline listening.
Further launch delays have sprung from licensing disagreements between YouTube and its affiliates. Some existing license agreements, signed with major labels in 2012, raised concerns that YouTube music would reduce revenue streams from paid subscription services such as Spotify; independent labels complained that YouTube sought licensing deals for too low a rate.
It’s unclear just who will replace LaRosa, but whoever it is, they’ll have a long way to go in getting YouTube music where it wants to be.
Edited by Adam Brandt