YouTube Joins the Streaming Music Market with Music Key

Google owned YouTube is throwing its hat into the streaming music market with a new service called YouTube Music Key. The subscription-based service, which launches as a beta on November 17, promises ad-free music and videos through the YouTube website and in the company's iOS and Android apps.

YouTube Music Key set to take on Spotify, iTunes RadioYouTube Music Key set to take on Spotify, iTunes Radio

Like Apple's Beats Music, YouTube Music Key will include expert-curated playlists and channels, and it looks like the company is hoping it go head-to-head with Spotify.

"You've asked us for ways to listen to music without ads, to keep playing music videos even if you lock the screen or start using another app, and to play music even if you're not connected to the Internet. That's why today we're introducing YouTube Music Key beta," YouTube said in a blog post.

The service will cost US$9.99 a month and will support offline listening. Subscribing during the invitation-only beta period drops that down to $7.99 a month after a free six-month window. That also comes with free access to Google Play Music, which competes with Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes Radio.

YouTube will be trying to find a place in a market that already has several streaming music services fighting for more subscribers. It already has a reputation as a go-to place to find music videos laden with ads, so offering content without ad-based distractions could be the key to enticing its viewers into paying for a new music service.

With 30 million songs available, YouTube may be able to convert some of its traffic into paying subscribers, but many of those potential customers may already be paying for their music elsewhere. In end, it may not be the promise of ad-free content, but familiarity with YouTube that draws in subscribers. Assuming, that is, that they're interested in yet another streaming music service.