YouTube Music Key – an introduction

YouTube Music Key – an introduction

by Martha Rowsell


We’ve been speculating about the future possibility of a YouTube subscription service for a while, and here it is: YouTube Music Key was launched on November 18th, adding another major name to the increasingly large list of streaming services available.

YouTube Music Key music keyis currently only available by invitation for a free trial of the beta phase for users located in the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Finland. The subscription is expected to cost $9.99/£9.99/€9.99 per month. It will offer users ad free listening, offline access, and background listening. This means that users can continue listening to music from YouTube on their chosen device, without having to watch the video. They will also be able to use other apps simultaneously.

The subscription service actually functions within YouTube, not as a separate app. This means that all YouTube users can already see the ‘music’ tab on YouTube’s home page. There is also an ‘offline’ button offering users the chance to save videos on their phone. On the video playback screen for YouTube Music Key users there is a small blue button that confirms the video is ad free.
There are more than 20 million tracks available on YouTube Music Key, including live gig footage, remixes, playlists and recommendations. This aspect of the service is one of the major ways in which it differs from other streaming services.

In the USA all-access subscribers to Google Play Music and YouTube users who listen to a lot of music on the platform can already try out the beta version of YouTube Music Key for free for a period of six months. The service will then cost 7.99 a month for early adopters, and will later be available to new users at the full price of 9.99. There have been some delays in the launch process due to Indie label complaints that the service is not actually offering fair contracts with smaller labels in comparison with other streaming services like Spotify, Rdio and Deezer. The darling of the indie music scene, Bandcamp, also recently announced the launch of its own subscription service, at the opposite end of the spectrum. Users subscribe to individual bands that they want to follow, and choose how much to pay per month.

As the situation with indie labels seems to have been resolved, it looks like YouTube’s Music Key is a step in the right direction towards fair artist payouts. Despite certain insecurities how the payment model will work out, the platform’s attraction cannot be denied. After all, you wouln’t want to miss out being on the world’s prime go-to place to discover new music, would you?

FAQ: What’s the difference between Music Key and Content ID monetisation?

  • Music Key is just another streaming service
  • YouTube monetisation / Content ID is a tool which tracks, claims and monetises all of your music and protects your copyright on YouTube even if your music was uploaded by others.