Monday, July 20, 2015

Will YouTube’s Music Key Streaming Service Be A Hit Or A Miss?

YouTube Music Key logo image
Now that the Apple Music launch has come and gone the next shoe to drop in the ongoing music streaming wars may be the one swinging the heaviest hammer. That’s Google’s YouTube Music Key, which has been hinting at a launch for months now with very little solid information about its final form forthcoming.

Until last week when YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki spoke about it at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech event, the silence around Music Key had been so deafening that you get the feeling that Google (which owns YouTube) was waiting to see what would happen with Apple Music before it committed itself to a launch. If ever there was a strategic pause, we’ve just seen it, as the company could only be sure of the hand that Apple was playing by watching Apple Music’s actual entry into the market.

Now that all of Apple Music’s features are out in the open, YouTube is free to tweak its service to either take a different approach from the rest of the competition or attempt to do some of the same things.

Music Key has been in a limited beta since late last year at an introductory price of $8 per month, but we’ve already been told that the final price will be more in line with the rest of the streaming industry at $9.99. That’s not Google’s choice (nor was it Apple’s) even as the general feeling in the tech industry is that $5 per month is actually the ideal price point.

Five bucks won’t fly with the major labels though, and the streaming services can’t distribute something that they don’t own the rights to, so Google, like Apple, will be forced to toe the line and charge $10 per month when Music Key is finally introduced. The place where it can make a difference in price however is with a “family plan” that extends additional subscriptions to family members. Read more on Forbes.

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