Google has just announced YouTube Music Key beta, a new way to pay for the music you love.
After months of leaks and rumours, the new music video subscription service is now official. Google said you'll see a new home just for music on the YouTube app for Android and iOS and on YouTube.com.
This "new home" is for favourite music videos and recommended music playlists. The idea is that you will be able to find and play full albums or an artist's full discography in high quality on YouTube.
Are you curious as to how it changes YouTube - or maybe you want to know how much it costs and whether the premium features are worth a monthly fee? We've got all the answers you're looking for, and then some, below.
What is YouTube Music Key?
Google has long been rumored to launch a YouTube-branded subscription music service, and now it's official. The service has initially launched in the US and is called YouTube Music Key beta. It notably features ad-free music, background play, and offline viewing.
"Thanks to your music videos, remixes, covers, and more, you’ve made YouTube the biggest music service on the planet," announced Google. "To turn YouTube into your perfect music service, we’re launching YouTube Music Key as a beta with our biggest music fans first, and then we’ll bring YouTube Music Key to the whole world together."
How much does it cost?
YouTube Music Key will cost $9.99 a month. At launch, Google will offer a promotional price of $7.99 a month.
A YouTube Music Key subscription includes a subscription to Google Play Music, and the ability to watch official music videos right from the Play Music app.
Can you try YouTube Music Key now?
Google said it will give people the chance to try the service - at no charge - for six months.
The company is currently asking people to submit their names and emails through the YouTube Music Key website, and then it'll send them an email to let you know when the service is more widely available.
What are the premium features for paid users?
YouTube Music Key offers the following premium features to subscribers: ad-free streaming of music videos, offline-caching on device, and audio-only multitasking (in which you can exit the YouTube app and music will continue to play).
All users will also be cross-authenticated with Google Play (which our sources have indicated might one day be rebranded as Google Play Music Key), so that YouTube premium users can use Google Play and vice versa.
What are the premium features for content providers (i.e., music partners)?
First of all: all content available on YouTube channels will be available in both ad-supported and premium-feature offering. In this section, we'll discuss what's available or new to musicians/partners who are publishing content.
YouTube Music Key will auto-generate art tracks whenever a music video, lyric video, or slideshow isn't available for a published track. Art tracks will appear on YouTube Topic channels and not the official artist page.
Content providers can change the look of art tracks but will lose all view counts, likes, comments, and engagement metrics. It's therefore better to create your own art tracks for music videos before publishing.
YouTube has promised to block ripped songs from radio and other sources that were posted to YouTube, and if your content previously existed on channels that don't belong to you, YouTube said it will work to claim the property and get it properly into subscription mode for you.
And finally, YouTube said that download links to iTunes, Amazon, etc will be auto-populated.
Will YouTube look noticeably different?
When YouTube Music Key launches, an update will roll out to the YouTube app for Android and iOS and on YouTube.com.
Once the update has landed, you will notice that YouTube didn't change much. At the video and playlist level however, you will see a download icon with the ability to offline cache audio or various video quality.
Want to know more?
Check out Google's promo video for more information about YouTube Music Key.