YouTube’s Music Service Is Reportedly Almost Ready

On-demand music for free on smartphones? There's got to be a catch.

  • Share
  • Read Later

By the end of the year, you might be able to treat YouTube more like your own personal MTV.

Billboard reports that YouTube’s long-rumored subscription music service is close to launching. It’ll reportedly emphasize music videos, and will be a separate service from Google Play All Access, a competitor to Spotify that arrived over the summer.

YouTube’s music service, according to Billboard, will have a free tier and a premium version with added features such as offline listening and no ads:

The free tier is likely to be unlimited, on-demand access to full tracks on all platforms, including mobile, said several people who have been briefed on the proposed service. In that sense, the paid tier is more of a “soft sell” as YouTube’s primary goal is to continue to amass ears and eyes to its mobile platform to sell ads.

It’ll be interesting to see how that works. Currently, services like Spotify and Rdio restrict mobile listening for users who don’t pay. If you don’t have a subscription, you only get a basic radio-style service, where you can’t choose individual songs or albums.

Billboard’s report suggests that YouTube’s service will let you choose individual tracks even on smartphones and tablets. And apparently all the major labels are on board. That makes me wonder if YouTube’s service will have some other creative way to discourage lengthy listening sessions. (For instance, maybe play queuing won’t be any easier than it is currently, requiring you to manually create playlists for everything.)

Of course, YouTube isn’t confirming or denying anything. Without my even reaching out, they e-mailed the very same statement that Billboard received: “We’re always working on new and better ways for people to enjoy YouTube content across all screens, and on giving partners more opportunities to reach their fans. However, we have nothing to announce at this time.”