Streaming music services are very much on the rise. After a slow start the likes of Spotify, Deezer, and Rdio have carved out a strong position in the market, causing the big boys to enter the fray with Google Play Music, Microsoft’s Xbox Music, and the much rumoured Apple iTunes Music service.
Google though has a real ace up its sleeve - YouTube. With so many music videos available for free on the video platform, and the ability to create playlists making it even easier to compile your own albums, YouTube has become one of the most important outlets for recording artists. Now Google has announced a new subscription service for YouTube which will remove ads, allow you to download videos, and even play them back as audio while you’re on the move. It’s called YouTube Music Key, and it could be about to change everything.
What is YouTube Music Key: What does it include?
If you listen to a lot of music on YouTube you’ll know that advertisements can become quite annoying. This is fair enough, as that’s what’s paying for the video you’re watching. Then there’s the drawback of needing a good internet connection to stream the video, which is fine at home but can quickly become a real data drain on a mobile device. YouTube Music Key looks set to fix both of these issues, while also adding a wealth of extra music into the deal.
As YouTube Music Key is a subscription service, those distracting ads will be a thing of the past. Now whenever you tap on the video in question you’ll be taken directly to it without the need to endure thirty seconds of some random product placement.
Another standout feature is the ability to download videos from YouTube onto your mobile device for offline play. Now, there are several apps that already do this, but the legality of their approach is highly questionable. With the official YouTube Music Key you’ll be able to save your favourite videos without any of these concerns. An added bonus, and one we think might actually be the killer feature, is that you’ll also be able to play the music in an audio only format as well. So once you’ve assembled your playlist you can either watch it offline, or plug in some headphones, put your iPhone or Android device in your pocket, and still enjoy the music without draining your battery. This feature allows the music to play in the background, so you’re free to use other apps at the same time.
As an extra incentive the subscription will also apply to Google’s own streaming service Google Play Music. This can store your existing music library (up to 20,000 songs) for free, even if it’s in iTunes, and gives you access to millions of other tracks that can be streamed or listened to offline. It really does look like the complete package for any music lover.
What is YouTube Music Key: How much will it cost?
Although the service is not set to publically release until early in 2015, Google has confirmed that YouTube Music Key will cost £9.99 per month and include full access to Google Play Music. This makes a lot of sense as the various competitors - Spotify, Deezer, and others - generally have their price at around £10 per month.
What is YouTube Music Key: How can I get it?
As mentioned above, the only way for UK users to gain access to the new service at the moment is through a Google Music Play subscription. If you don’t want to sign up to that then you can visit the YouTube Music Key site and register your interest by entering your email address, which rewards you with a message from Google stating ‘You’ll be notified when YouTube Music Key is more widely available.’