By: Ryan Scott
YouTube has recently launched YouTube Music Key, a subscription music streaming service that will allow users to stream artist’s music without commercials for $9.99 per month.
YouTube is just the latest to embrace subscription music streaming as a legitimate method of driving commerce for the industry. Spotify has been steadily gaining subscribers over the past several years and Amazon recently launched Prime Music, which bares similarities to its competitors.
However, YouTube is going to have a pretty big leg up heading into the marketplace as millions of people already stream music and videos from the site worldwide, so their potential subscriber base is already largely in place.
“I stream (YouTube) at least 3 hours per day,” said ASU student Nick DePietro
YouTube Music Key will cost the same as Spotify Premium but has some key features that Spotify is lacking. YouTube is primarily a video service and they will keep that spirit alive with the service.
Users will be able to stream an artist’s entire video library without ads. The user can also choose to just stream the music and still be able to use other features on their device while the music plays in the background.
YouTube Music Key subscribers will also have unlimited access to Google Play Music, which has more than 30 million songs in its library for users to stream.
With YouTube jumping into the music streaming game, it seems as though the music industry is in the middle of another paradigm shift. In the early 2000’s with the launch of iTunes, Apple shifted the focus to digital sales of singles as opposed to hard copy albums.
The music industry largely failed to successfully adapt to this change and as a result has seen declining profits over the last decade. Now while the industry is still struggling to adapt to that change, music streaming is threatening to become the new norm.
However, where many saw the digital music marketplace as a good thing for the future, music streaming has been much divisive.
Artists like Taylor Swift have pulled their entire catalog from Spotify, claiming that the service doesn’t pay out enough money to the artists whose music their service is based on. In spite of this, companies like Google and Amazon see it as a very viable option moving forward.
Kynsley Chapman has been a Spotify Premium subscriber for a year and say she doesn’t even use her iPod anymore.
“I like Spotify because, yes, it has a lot of the popular music on there but it also has bands and songs I’ve never even heard of. So I find like hidden gems of music,” Chapman said. “I’d rather use my phone than my iPod. My iPod is full so to add any new music I’d have to delete stuff. With Spotify I can keep adding new stuff daily.”