To be entirely fair, “frustrate and seduce,” the phrase recently used by Lyor Cohen to describe his plans to turn YouTube into a music juggernaut, certainly speaks to the human condition at the moment. The system we live in relies on the constant stimulation desire, and one the corollaries an all-advertising-all-the-time culture is a near constant state thwarted desire. And Cohen, the veteran record executive who has run two major labels and one his own creation, knows a thing or two about the business music; YouTube wouldn’t have hired him in 2016 to head up their global music division for any other reason. When he talks to Bloomberg Tech about his plans to barrage people who use YouTube to listen to music with so many ads until they cave in and pay to subscribe to the site’s new music service, people listen.
So while “frustrate and seduce” may seem like a dubious strategy to improve YouTube’s bottom line from the outside, who really knows? Using the mythic algorithms YouTube’s parent conglomerate, Google, to target potential subscribers, Cohen might just pull in enough new revenue to get the last laugh.