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YouTube to launch paid music service ‘Music Key’

MUMBAI: Internet giant Google’s video sharing platform YouTube is reportedly starting a new subscription service ‘Music Key’ that will allow users to stream ad-free music and download complete albums for offline use.

Available at a monthly fee of $8 initially, the service will also allow users to download suggested playlists and personal mixes for offline playback and include a membership to Google Play All Access at no additional charge.

YouTube is also 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 users to find specific songs and entire albums, even if they aren’t subscribers. The service will also offer the unique distinction of being able to show artists performing their songs too.

The subscription service is part of Google’s effort to source more revenue from YouTube.

It will initially be offered on an invitation-only basis in US, UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Finland. The first batch of offers will be sent out next week to YouTube viewers with a history of watching a lot of music clips. After a free six-month trial period, Music Key will temporarily cost $8 per month before escalating to its standard price of $10 per month.

Besides removing all ads, Music Key also gives subscribers two other perks: the ability to continue playing songs while the screens of mobile devices are locked and the option to download tracks so they can be played without an Internet connection. The offline music can only be played in Music Key’s mobile app.

Google has signed deals with several labels across the world.

The subscription service is set to pose a tough competition to other services like Spotify, Rdio, Beats Music and other audio-only ‘unlimited’ music services.