YouTube Music Is Now Available Natively on HomePods

Tim Hardwick, MacRumors:

YouTube Music is now available directly on Apple’s HomePod and HomePod mini, thanks to new Siri integration support in the YouTube Music app. The change means subscribers to the streaming service can now choose to use voice commands to start YouTube Music on a HomePod, without having to append “on YouTube Music” to every request.

Here’s Apple’s support document for using Siri to play music on HomePods, which includes the (pretty simple) directions for setting a default music service.

There’s a big — and to me, a little weird — difference between music services and streaming video services. Every streaming video service is available on almost every device capable of playing video. Whatever box or built-in “smart TV” software you’re using in your living room, it almost certainly has access to every major streaming video service. When Apple TV+ launched in 2019, Apple already supported Samsung TVs, and pre-announced versions for Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony, and Vizio.

But with these smart audio devices, it’s been more drip-by-drip. It seems clear that each of the major smart audio device makers — Apple with HomePod, Amazon with Echo devices, and Google with their Nests — originally conceived of them as being companion products for the respective company’s own music service, not open platforms. You can see how they’d think that way: most people subscribe to multiple streaming video services, because each service has its own original shows and movies. But with music, most people subscribe to just one service, because each service pretty much has all popular music.

But in the long run it’s better for everyone to do what’s best for users, and clearly that means giving users a choice of which music service they want to use, no matter which hardware system they’ve bought. Compete on quality and price, not lock-in.

Monday, 23 October 2023