Google's YouTube Remix music streaming service will launch later this year. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Google is reportedly planning to launch a new music streaming service called YouTube Remix later this year and it is going to replace Google Play Music.

YouTube Remix is said to launch sometime later this year, and existing Play Music customers will be forced to switch to the new service by the end of 2018, according to Droid Life. YouTube Remix will become Google’s sole music streaming service, which is expected to function very much like Spotify or Apple Music. The new service is also expected to include YouTube features, like video streaming.

There’s currently no information as to how Google plans to completely shut down Play Music, but a company spokesperson said this: “We’ve previously announced the combination of the YouTube Music and Google Play product teams — music is very important to Google so it’s critical we have one offering that meets the needs of consumers and artists. Nothing will change for users today and we’ll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made.”

It’s possible that Google might also try to find a way to sync the user’s Play Music library and playlists once YouTube Remix is launched. This hasn’t been confirmed by Google yet, but it seems like a reasonable and convenient way to migrate Play Music customers to YouTube Remix.

Droid Life’s “reliable source” claims that YouTube Remix will be based around recommendations. This means that the service will be able to provide users with smart playlists and music based on the time of day or where the user is currently located.

The existence of YouTube Remix was first reported back in December, when it was initially thought to launch in March 2018 during the SXSW festival. That didn’t happen, but YouTube’s global head of music, Lyor Cohen, attended the event and shared that the upcoming new service will combine “the best of Google Play Music’s context server” and YouTube’s “breadth and depth of catalogue.”

YouTube is already a popular platform for streaming music videos for free with ads. Google introduced its YouTube Red subscription service in 2015 (which replaced YouTube Music Key) to offer an ad-free experience, but the service wasn’t widely available globally. Meanwhile, Google Play Music is accessible in more countries than YouTube Red, but it’s not as popular as Spotify or Apple Music.

With YouTube Remix, Google will be able to streamline its music offerings by bringing YouTube, Red and Play Music under one service.