YouTube’s long-awaited music subscription service is finally here, with a $7.99 price tag for an initial promotional period, with a standard rate of $9.99 per month. The service is called YouTube Music Key, and it offers access to Google Play Music’s entire library, as well as providing ads-free music videos, background playback capabilities, and offline caching for viewing without a connection.
The music service is going out via limited beta at first, which you can sign up for at a site set up by Google over on YouTube. The service arrives alongside a new launch of a music category for YouTube that collects all music videos, as well as recommended playlists, based on both your interests and on what’s trending across the video site. It’ll also offer up content updates from artists you follow, show you your most-frequently listened-to tracks and more. In short, Google has created a full-fledged streaming music site, but with the added wrinkle that it has a strong emphasis on video content.
Full albums are now coming to YouTube, too, complete with official music videos, and videos added by YouTube’s own “music partners” to supplement where official videos aren’t available. This new service is free and ad-supported by default, but using Music Key ‘unlocks’ (get it?) the ability to use all of the above without seeing any annoying ads or pre-roll.
Invites with access should start rolling out next week on Monday. Google’s got a great idea here, and one that seems like a good fit beyond just music on YouTube. Free access to the ad-supported version should be accessible beginning now.