After Google-owned YouTube killed two hugely popular Discord music bots this month, forcing them to essentially shut down in the dead of night over claims of copyright infringement, Discord has reportedly begun testing a YouTube integration that will allow users to once again stream tunes within their servers.
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Discord had apparently tested a similar feature about 10 months ago, but seems to have rebranded it and sped up its rollout as a way to offset users’ disappointment in the wake of shutting down popular bots Groovy and Rythm. According to The Verge, the new integration has been rolled out to just a handful of “friends and family servers” so far, and seems to be the result of a collaboration between Discord and YouTube, which will likely disappoint those who had appreciated the lawless spirit of the now-deceased music bots. The new feature, called Watch Together, allows Discord users to stream YouTube videos together on the platform, just as the music bots Groovy and Rythm had once allowed users to listen to shared, collaborative playlists in the online rooms where they gathered.
Predictably, though, the new, YouTube-sanctioned feature seems to be a lot more, well, YouTube-forward: Once Watch Together is enabled, a small YouTube interface pops up on the left-hand side of their screen, allowing users to create playlists by searching YouTube links in a designated search bar. Toggling a small green button at the bottom of the interface allows users to “share the remote,” which enables a collaborative mode that others present on the server can use to shape the playlist.
And like anything that “The Man” tries to roll up and legalize, it does seem that Watch Together is missing some of the charms that made Groovy and Rythm so popular to begin with. As Discord told The Verge, “you may see ads during YouTube videos” with the new integration, something that will undoubtedly kill the vibe majorly in a way that wasn’t really an issue with the unsanctioned bots.
Still, Discord seems to be plowing ahead with the YouTube integration, and Watch Together is tentatively expected to roll out to all users by the end of October.