Google announces ad-free YouTube music subscription service (Wired UK)


YouTube


Google has announced
today that it is launching a paid YouTube music service
that will allow viewers to watch videos without ads and save videos
to watch offline.

YouTube
Music Key
will begin to roll out from today in invite-only beta
and will provide testers with six months of free listening and
watching. A full launch is scheduled for six months’ time, at which
point the service will open up to everyone. Google will charge
former beta users £7.99 per month and everyone else will pay £9.99
to subscribe to the service.

A subscription to Music Key also includes a
subscription to Google Play Music, Google’s music-streaming service, which has
over 30 million songs. For the time being at least the two will
co-exist alongside one another, overlapping in some ways but
ultimately remaining as two separate services. This will give users
access to a massive library of videos, as well as music — a unique
feature that no other music streaming subscription can offer.

As well as music videos, users will be able to access other
album tracks, for which there are no videos — these will appear
alongside a still picture. YouTube is determined to help you access
a more diverse range of music than just studio-recorded tracks,
however. It will also be including covers, remixes, live versions
and other music-related content as part of the service’s remit.

Both playlists and individual videos can be saved for offline
viewing and can be played in the background whether you are using
your device for other tasks or not using it at all. Discoverability
has been improved too, so that now when you search for an artist
you will see be able to peruse their full discography and related
content.


YouTube


We had a quick look at YouTube Music Key on an Android tablet
and were impressed with the revamped controls, which means you can
hover over the video to fast-forward and rewind, as well as stick
videos on repeat and shuffle playlists. Another Android-only
feature is the ability to access a pull-down mini player from the
top of the page, meaning you don’t have to go back into the app
every time you want to change song.

Some new features designed to complement YouTube Music Key will
also be available to non-subscribers from today, including a new
music tab offering new playlists, trending videos and favourites on
the YouTube app homepage. This will apply to users in the seven
launch countries, which include the UK.

There’s still a question mark over how fast YouTube will be able
to get newly released albums onto the service, and whether the
subscription model might cause some artists to reconsider their
relationships with YouTube. Only two of the songs — the two with
music videos — from Taylor Swift‘s new
album 1989 were on there. Swift recently pulled her music from music-streaming service Spotify as
she disapproves of the streaming model. Nobody from YouTube could
tell us if or when the rest of 1989 might be available on
the platform.

Taylor or no Taylor, the combination of YouTube plus Google Play
Music is an enticing offer for a mere £10 per month. The next six
months should see Google iron out any kinks in the offering and
give Spotify et al a run for their money.

You can sign up to request an invitation for YouTube Music Key
beta as long as you have a Gmail address.

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12 November 2014 | 6:00 pm – Source: wired.co.uk

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