It seems live everyone is talking about YouTube’s long-awaited music subscription service again after tech blog Android Police published screenshots of what it claims is a beta version of the new service called YouTube Music Key. YouTube’s music service has been mired in the development stage for over a year, and has suffered from legal and personnel setbacks, so any details that leak tend to inspire feverish speculation. Some are even claiming that the leaked images reveal YouTube’s “secret weapon” for unseating streaming rivals like Spotify. They may be right, but the secret is hardly a secret. It’s the same thing that has kept YouTube’s video service on top all these years: content.
On the surface, YouTube Music Key looks and feels a lot like Spotify and other music services. A subscription will let users access an extensive music library without commercial interruption. The service is also likely to incorporate an offline playback feature similar to the one hinted at in the next iteration of the YouTube app. This will allow users to build playlists for on-the-go use without burning up their monthly data allowance or depending on Wi-fi. All of that will reportedly come with a $9.99 monthly pricetag to match Spotify.
What will make YouTube Music Key special is that it will have access to all of YouTube’s content. That includes an uncountable number of fan covers, remixes and original music by independent YouTube musicians. YouTube owes much of its success to being a music destination content that exists in a licensing grey area — some songs that haven’t been licensed by streaming sources can be found on YouTube more easily than anywhere else. All of that music can be folded into YouTube’s music service to create an even larger library. All that content, along with music videos, could give YouTube Music Key a definite advantage over the competition.
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