YouTube launches streaming music service called Music Key, strikes deal with indie labels

YouTube launches streaming music service called Music Key, strikes deal with indie labels

Google’s favorite adopted son YouTube has finally struck a deal with indie record labels! I’m not sure if this is a great day for music fans, but at least the hundreds of indies are getting theirs, so it’s probably a good day for the industry. Represented by an organization called Merlin (ooh, magic), the “other” labels have been in a protracted negotiation with YouTube over proper compensation for licensing their catalogs. Finally, the two parties reached an unspecified deal, and the labels’ music will now be included in YouTube’s forthcoming service Music Key.

So how is this different from the free website? Well, it’s a paid platform that gives you access to the entire Google Play and YouTube library, both offline and ad-free, for $9.99 a month. Then there’s an app that allows you to download music and videos to your phone, similar to Spotify but all within YouTube’s ecosystem. On the free end of things, the website has also added a Music tab, which currently allows for endless playlists à la Pandora. The Music Key announcement finally capitalizes on the estimated 2.28 billion hours that people listen to music via YouTube, but it also immediately makes the website a target. Right now, there are countless unofficial uploads on the site; those labels who didn’t sign a licensing deal are getting pissed, and some are threatening to take all of their artists’ music down. We’ll see how this plays out in the coming months. Music Key starts an invite-only beta on November 17 in the US, UK, Ireland, Italy, Finland, Spain, and Portugal.

• YouTube Music Key: https://www.youtube.com/musickey

Most Read