YouTube Launches Music Key Streaming Service

YouTube Launches Music Key Streaming Service
There have been rumblings that YouTube would be getting its own paid streaming service, and the video giant alienated some indie labels over its allegedly unfair contracts. Now, YouTube and parent company Google are finally preparing to launch their service Music Key, which will be rolled out next week in beta-test mode.

The company told Rolling Stone that Music Key will launch on Monday (November 17), and it will initially only involve "a limited group of people who play the most music on YouTube."

A rep from YouTube said, "We've signed deals with every major label and hundreds of indie labels worldwide to make these features available. We didn't expect this to happen overnight."

Music Key will cost $9.99 per month, and it will focus on mobile devices. It will let users listen to music while using other apps simultaneously, and videos will be cached so they are available offline. There won't be any ads, and its public launch is expected in 2015.

This comes hot on the heels of news that YouTube has made peace with independent labels following contract disputes, having signed a deal with the label reps at Merlin, the global new media rights licensing agency.

YouTube reps state the subscription service will provide a more streamlined music service, likely leading to posts such as fan-generated covers and unofficial streams from regular users to be pulled more frequently. The service is also synchronized with the downloads store Google Play, and there will also be an option that allows for continuous listening based off a user's choice of song or artist.

According to reps, "Until today you couldn't easily find and play full albums. In the coming days, you'll be able to see an artist's discography on YouTube, and play a full album with both their official music videos and high-quality songs our music partners added to YouTube."

With Music Key, YouTube enters a market that's still a hotbed of controversy over royalties. Notably, Taylor Swift recently caused a stir when she pulled her catalogue from Spotify.