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YouTube launches new Music Key streaming service as artists look to pull music

YouTube's video announcing their new YouTube Music Key premium service.
YouTube's video announcing their new YouTube Music Key premium service.
YouTube Music Key (via YouTube)

YouTube's long been the dominant force in video, but now they're trying to take over the music world. Wednesday, they launched the beta version of YouTube Music Key, a new premium subscription service set to compete with the likes of streaming music services like Spotify and Rdio.

The headline features include being able to listen to music ad-free, to keep that music going in the background on mobile and being able to enjoy that music offline. They're also expanding YouTube music features outside of users of the service, with new music-based sections on their site and apps, including trending music, playlists and more. One key feature in this expansion: they're making it easier to listen to full albums, rather than just individual songs, including official music videos and audio.

While streaming music has become popular with a lot of music fans, those inside the industry haven't been as quick to embrace it, complaining that it devalues their own music and that they aren't receiving fair compensation. Taylor Swift recently made headlines by pulling her music off of Spotify, and music industry veteran Irving Azoff told the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday that he was prepared to remove his clients' music from the service. Azoff argues that YouTube hasn't made all the deals necessary to legally stream all the music they want to. Azoff's clients include Pharrell, the Eagles and others.

YouTube is building on what they started with Google Play, with the new service including a subscription to Google Play Online. Among other new features, they're adding the ability to watch YouTube videos offline.

The service is starting at $7.99 before moving up to a regular price of $9.99. It's also currently only available to beta users. YouTube has been reaching out to those who are already big YouTube music fans and offering them six months for free — but if you don't have an invite in your email or on your app, you're out of luck. For now.