Google is remixing the music on its YouTube video site with the addition of ad-free subscription service “Music Key” and a new format designed to make it easier to find millions of songs that can still be played for free.
The subscription service is part of Google’s effort to mine more revenue from YouTube as the video site approaches the 10th anniversary of its inception. Music Key has been speculated about for months while Google Inc. wrangled over the licensing terms with recording labels.
The service, priced initially at $8 a month, is comparable in cost to other digital music subscription services sold by Spotify, Apple Inc’s Beats and Google’s own 18-month-old streaming service tied to its Android “Play” store.
But Music Key subscribers will be able to stream through the Google Play service at no additional charge, too. YouTube also is unveiling a new tab devoted exclusively to music on its mobile apps and website. This option is meant to make it easier for the video site’s 1 billion users to find specific songs and entire albums, even if they aren’t subscribers.
Most music subscription services own the rights to the same catalogues, making their ability to learn listeners’ preference to create appealing playlists particularly important. Music Key, though, will offer the unique distinction of being able to show artists performing their songs too.