Sit back for a second and consider how many hours you’ve sunk into listening to whole albums on YouTube. C’mon, don’t be shy. Even 10 years after it became a fresh-faced video sharing service, it’s still the place to stream 80-minute videos of all your favorite albums for free; and when money came into the equation, it was translated through ad revenue and billions of clicks. Even considering all of that, pressure from streaming services like Spotify, Google Play, and Apple Music is still high, so YouTube is officially throwing its hat in the ring.
The new streaming service, called Music Key, has been in beta for the better part of a year, and it’s trying to justify its existence by addressing some issues users of Vanilla YouTube have had for a long time while tossing in some new features.
You get YouTube’s entire video library with *no* ads
Exactly what it says. Whether you want to blow through an album or watch that 2-hour diving board fails compilation, you can do it all without ads!
New section in apps just for music
Music Key will bring a section dedicated solely to music, where you can listen to/watch your favorite artists and get recommendations and playlists.
Listening to YouTube songs with a locked screen
No more constantly having to hold your phone in your hand! Not only does Music Key allows you to listen to your music with a locked screen on a mobile device, but also while you’re in other apps, or even offline.
It costs $10/month
But early beta users (invite only) get six months access for free *and* get the service at a reduced rate ($8/month) if they stay on.
The addition of videos to the streaming equation is an enticing one, and locking your screen while bumping that Nujabes playlist is pretty tight, but is this really enough to lure listeners away from other paid services? More importantly, is the biggest video sharing platform on the internet going premium enough to draw in listeners who have avoided paid streaming like the plague? As a podcaster, critic, or general YouTuber, will it still be possible to make money off your videos if there’s no ad revenue coming in? Hopefully YouTube will put its music where its mouth is in the coming weeks and months.