YouTube has been rumored to enter the streaming music subscription arena for months now, and now it seems all but official. A barrage of newly leaked screens show what looks to be YouTube Music Key, Google's attempt to take on streaming music giants like Spotify and Beats Music.
According to a report from Android Police, YouTube Music Key is a $10 monthly service that will supposedly let you play YouTube songs ad-free, store videos for offline playback and, in what could be the biggest selling point, finally allow you to use YouTube in audio-only mode for when you've locked your phone or switched to other apps.
Searching for songs on YouTube sometimes leads you to low-quality, unofficial rips, but Music Key could change that. According to one screenshot, the service will offer more than 20 million high-quality tracks, which will be organized by artist and album. Spotify and Beats Music also claim to have more than 20 million songs, so YouTube would be on a par with the competition from the start, at least in terms of library size.
YouTube Music Key will offer a 30-day free trial before you start your $10 per month subscription, which will also reportedly get you access to Google Play Music Key. Not much is known about the latter part of the service, but we're assuming it would offer some sort of unlimited or offline access to Google Play's music library.
The screenshots show Music Key running within an Android version of YouTube, but the service will likely work on any device that has a YouTube app. It will also offer Chromecast support.
While the world of streaming music services is already overcrowded, Music Key could be a game changer. For one, users will finally be able to store YouTube videos for offline viewing (even if they are all music-related), and, thanks to the plethora of live concert footage and remixes on YouTube, fans will be able to access more than just studio tracks. It also doesn't hurt that a single subscription could give you unlimited access to music across both YouTube and Google Play.
However, Music Key could be missing a few major artists at launch. According to a Billboard report from June, YouTube was having royalty disputes with the record labels of top artists like Adele, Vampire Weekend and Arctic Monkeys, and could end up removing those acts from YouTube completely in order to keep the song selection consistent between Music Key subscribers and non-paid YouTube users.
Regardless, we're curious to see how Music Key stacks up to the competition when it officially surfaces. There's currently no word on a release date.
via Android Police
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