More YouTube music options
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — 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 US $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 one 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.
That difference could help lure listeners away from Spotify, which says it has about 50 million users, including 12.5 million subscribers, said Mark Mulligan, a longtime industry analyst with Midia Research.
And YouTube’s redesigned library of free music could do even more damage to Spotify and other services, such as video site Vevo, where people flock to check out songs at no cost. Expanding the audience that listens to free music would be profitable for Google because that would yield more opportunities to show ads – the main way that the Mountain View, California, company makes its money anyway.