YouTube Music Key: Yet Another Music Streaming Service?

According to a new report, Google has all but launched another music streamer. It's called YouTube Music Key, and Google's convinced you'll pay.
Posted at 1:02 PM, Aug 19, 2014

These days, just about everyone is in the subscription music game: Apple, Spotify, Google, Rdio, Microsoft, Google.

No, I didn't misspeak; Google's getting back in the game, according to tech blog Android Police. Along with its Google Play Music service, Google-owned YouTube is set to launch a subscription service of its own called YouTube Music Key. (Video via Google)

In fact, the outlet reports Google will rebrand its current subscription service, leaving us with Google Play Music Key and YouTube Music Key. Confusing, I know.

But let's back up for a second. With as few as 40 streaming music services on the market, why would Google be interested in focusing its energy and resources on another streamer?

Because it's different. According to Re/code, "It will have stuff you can't get from other music subscription services." Like those how-legal-are-these-really concert recordings, covers and remixes.

The outlet goes on to compare the all-but-announced service to another streamer: "Spotify gives me on-demand access to all of Wilco's albums, and all of Radiohead's albums, but it won't let me hear Wilco's Jeff Tweedy covering Radiohead." 

And if that's not enough of a reason, CNET argues Google has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

"YouTube, which has more than 1 billion unique monthly users, is already the largest music service in existence, and for now it only makes money via ads. Throw in a subscription offering and it could be a game changer for music streaming."

But a so-called game changer doesn't launch without ruffling a few feathers.

Google made headlines in late May after it was reported the tech company was "approaching labels directly with a 'template contract' and threatening that if they do not sign it, all their music videos will be blocked on YouTube."

That "template contract" dealt with licensing terms involving YouTube's new subscription service. So while you'll reportedly get access to those concert vids and covers, some indie music might not be available as part of the service. 

What you will get, according to that Android Police report from earlier, is "ad-free music, audio-only playback [of videos] (for background or screen-off listening), and offline playback."

Several sources point to a $9.99 subscription price, a 30-day free trial and the likelihood it'll come bundled with Google Play Music All Access. No word yet on a launch date.

This video includes images from Getty Images.