By Sahil Patel
After months of speculation, YouTube is finally launching its subscription music service.
The service, called YouTube Music Key, will allow users to listen to music on YouTube without having to suffer through ads. Other features include offline viewing and background play (the ability to watch music videos on mobile devices even if the screen is locked or the user is on another app).
Launching in beta, Music Key will be available for a promotional price of $7.99 per month, discounted from $9.99 per month. YouTube is opening the service to its “biggest music fans first” in the US, UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, and Finland, before rolling it out globally. These are the people “who listen to the most music on YouTube,” according to YouTube. They will receive an invite via email or their YouTube app in the coming days and weeks, and will be able to try out the service for free for six months.
Those who sign up for YouTube Music Key will also receive a subscription to Google Play Music, which features a library of over 30 million songs. In the coming days, users will also be able to watch official YouTube music videos right from the Google Play app, the company said.
The launch of the subscription service comes with other changes to how people can watch music content on YouTube. Beginning today, YouTube is offering a custom section on its site and iOS and Android apps dedicated entirely to music videos. Geared toward each user, the section features the latest songs from channels the user subscribes to, easy access to their favorite existing music videos, and curated playlists based on favorite artists and moods.
In the coming days, YouTube will also make entire albums available on its site. Users will be able to play full albums, including associated music videos uploaded to the site by artists and labels.