After Amazon announced Prime Music last week, YouTube is following suit by confirming its own paid music streaming service, which will debut sometime over the summer.
The ad-free service will allegedly be called YouTube Music Pass and will allow users to download full albums for offline listening. The pricing details for the service haven't been divulged, but it should be interesting to see how Google would integrate this service with Play Music All Access.
At the behest, YouTube has managed to negotiate licensing deals with three major record labels — Sony, Warner and Universal. However, it looks like the video juggernaut was not able to reach an agreement with indie labels, with most labels coming out and stating that the royalty terms YouTube proposed undercut what other streaming services like Spotify, Rdio and Rhapsody offer.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Vice President and Global Head of Business at YouTube Robert Kyncl stated that video content from indie labels will be blocked "in a matter of days" should the labels not agree to YouTube's terms. He said that signing all labels is "not likely an achievable goal," and that the dispute with the indie labels will not affect the launch of the service.
A source familiar with the matter revealed to Reuters that "blocking certain music labels' videos from appearing on YouTube's free website might be necessary in order to provide a consistent user experience" for the paid service. It doesn't make much sense to have paid subscribers if the same video was already available for free.
Even though several publishers may not be able to sign licensing deals with the service, YouTube said in a statement that the new streaming model will "bring our music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year."
Should a deal not materialise between indie labels and YouTube, videos form several top-tier musicians like Adele, Arctic Monkeys, The XX, Radiohead and others will likely be blocked on the website.
What are your thoughts on YouTube's paid streaming service? Would you considering shifting from Spotify or another music streaming service for YouTube's offering? Share your thoughts in the comments below.