YouTube has been working on bringing its new music streaming service – YouTube Music Key to the public for about six months now, but recent reports show that it may take a little longer. Current beta testers have received emails, stating their free subscription will be extended to September 15th.
YouTube Music Key broadens the horizon for the platform, giving both free and paid users a whole host of new features:
‘Music’ Tab: This one has already arrived for all users. At the top of the homepage, next to What To Watch, the ‘Music’ Tab alters the homepage to display just music, tailored to your listening habbits.
Mixes: Find a track you like, hit the ‘Mix’ button on the right of the video, and with a bit of YouTube algorithm magic, you’ll be given an endless supply of similar tracks, Pandora style. Again this is a feature available now for free (ad-supported) and paying subscibers
Google Play Music: Paying members will get full access to Google Play’s music streaming service, as will Google Play members get access to Music Key.
Background listening: This one’s a biggy! A lot of people use YouTube already to stream music, the main downside is when it comes to mobile listening. With the official YouTube app, the moment you switch apps, or hit the power button, the track will stop. People have found work arounds with third party YouTube apps, but it would be a great addition, with it included into the standard YouTube app.
Battery & Data Improvements: According to YouTube (there’s no user verification on this one) they have been working behind the scenes to improve the battery drain and data usage, typical with video streaming over wifi and cellular.
There are a few concerns surrounding the YouTube platform as your go to music streamer of choice. Firstly they’re new to the game, where Spotify, Deezer, Rdio, Amazon and Xbox have years of developing, improvements, and feature additions behind them. Their primary focus will always be video first, so it will be interesting to see how much they focus on bringing a solid music streaming service.
We’re likely to see an official release of YouTube Music Key (which hopefully gets a better name) in September (which gives them some time to iron out any bugs), the main service will cost around $8/month, likely with a free trail option and will run on iOS, Android and online.