YouTube takes on Spotify with ‘Music Key’ subscription service


YouTube is taking on Spotify with a new paid for service that offers ad-free music, offline play and background listening on smartphones and tablets.

Watch this video from the BBC reviewing the service:

YouTube Music Key is currently available as six-month free trial in the UK, US, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Finland, and will be followed by a free ad-supported version and a paid version costing £9.99 a month.

If a musician has made a video for a particular song, the user must stream or download that video too. Other songs, without a video, can be streamed and downloaded as audio-only.

Paying Music Key subscribers will also get access to Google’s Play Music library and vice versa – expanding their music selection and making it easier to find room on devices for offline playlist (after all, downloading tracks from Music Key will include the size of the video file as well).

Streaming music debate

The big competition for Music Key will be Spotify. Although YouTube is a mammoth among tech sites (more than one billion users visit every month), Spotify is still the leading streaming service with 50 million users, 12.5m of which are paying.

Spotify made the news when Taylor Swift didn't release her new album, 1989, on the site, before pulling her entire catalogue. The artist explained her decision by saying that music was valuable and shouldn't be free. Spotify boss Daniel Ek responded by saying that Spotify mitigated the effects of piracy.

In comparison, YouTube has one billion monthly active users and has paid $1bn to users since it was founded in 2005.

Spotify has a smaller user base - around 50 million monthly users - but has paid $2bn (£1.26bn) to artists so far. $1bn of that was in the last year.

Watch this promo video for the service here:

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