Just hours after announcing a huge licensing deal with Merlin, a worldwide music rights agency representing hundreds of independent labels, YouTube has unveiled its paid subscription service, YouTube Music Key beta.
The new platform, launching in an invite-only capacity on November 17, is offering ad-free music and offline streaming at the discounted promotional price of $7.99 per month. A subscription also includes access to Google Play Music, a previously separate streaming service that hosts more than 30 million songs, playlists, and videos.
“Thanks to your music videos, remixes, covers, and more, you’ve made YouTube the biggest music service on the planet. To turn YouTube into your perfect music service, we’re launching YouTube Music Key as a beta with our biggest music fans first, and then we’ll bring YouTube Music Key to the whole world together. So, if you see an invite in your app or email, try it out for six months for free,” reads a post on the YouTube Official Blog.
The free version of the software, now live, appears under the new Music tab on the website’s sidebar and official Android and iOS applications. As announced in their recent blog post, the tab will soon direct users to their favorite artists’ full albums and high-quality versions of songs and music videos.
YouTube joins a number of other popular streaming competitors in the race for digital relevancy. Last week, SoundCloud announced a licensing deal with Warner Music Group that will provide a revenue stream for the record company’s artists and songwriters when the website launches their own paid subscription service in the very near future.
Head over to YouTube now to check out the new features and request an invite should you want to declare you allegiance in the battle for streaming superiority.