Google had previously confirmed its plans to launch a YouTube-powered music subscription service, but thanks to a series of leaked images via the blog Android Police, we now have the first taste as to what that service may look like, and what sort of features it will offer.
According to the report, the service will be called YouTube Music Key, and Google will also be rebranding its Google Play All Access service to Google Play Music Key so as not to confuse the matter further.
Though one could argue that Google diving into the subscription music business with not one, but two streaming music services could lead to consumer confusion.
However, it seems that YouTube Music Key will be bundled in with Google Play Music Key for the same price as the latter today, at $9.99 per month. That would also mean that current Google Play All Access subscribers would be automatically upgraded to the new, bundled service when it goes live.
Or to simplify things (!!!): you’ll have Google Play, the online store with apps, movies, TV, music, books and NewsStand; Google Play Music for downloads you purchase; Google Play Music Key for on-demand streaming; and now YouTube Music Key for on-demand, streaming of stuff from YouTube.
Apparently, just calling the whole thing “Google Music” was not considered?
YouTube Music Key, which aims to build on one of the popular use cases for the video sharing network – watching and listening to music videos, will offer ad-free, audio-only playback for background listening in addition to video viewing, as well as offline listening for some 20 million-plus music tracks. As the post points out, this doesn’t only include standard music videos, but also things like concert footage, covers and remixes.
This access to an artist’s expanded catalog – the fan recordings, the live footage, the mixes, etc. – is what will help differentiate Google’s service from a sea of streaming music competitors, including radio services like iTunes Radio and Pandora, as well as on-demand options like Apple-owned Beats and Spotify.
Also like YouTube proper, YouTube Music Key will tap into YouTube’s powerful recommendations algorithms to make suggestions of new music to try based on what you watch and listen to, including both recommended tracks and curated playlists.
It’s unclear from the screenshots that leaked if YouTube Music Key will be a standalone mobile application, or a section within an upgraded Google Play Music All Access app.
Google declined to comment on the Android Police report, but rumors and earlier reports on the service, which Google has before confirmed, make this seem like a legitimate leak.