Rumors of a YouTube-branded subscription streaming service have been floating around for quite some time – both before Google launched Play Music All Access and since. The reasoning appears rather simple. YouTube is already a massive destination for streaming music – and as of now, it's all ad-supported. YouTube can offer the most content of any service, and Google has been looking to figure out how to turn it into a subscription service. A little over a year ago, Google made the first steps in offering some paid subscription content on YouTube with their paid channels. Music is a logical step.
Well, apparently it has a name now. According to a report from Android Police, Google's YouTube-branded subscription service will be called YouTube Music Key. When it will launch is still a mystery, however.
So, how will this fit in with Google's existing subscription service, Google Play Music All Access? Pretty well, according to the report. It'll apparently get a rebranding – Google Play Music Key – and the $9.99 monthly price will cover both YouTube Key And Play Music Key.
Android Police says that YouTube Music Key will offer ad-free music, audio-only playback, and offline playback.
It's possible that YouTube Music Key will be marketed as a destination for music beyond the music – concert footage, remixes, covers, etc. Given that YouTube is already the number one destination for this type of music, this makes sense.
Well over a year ago, Google provided this not-so-cryptic reply when asked about the YouTube music service rumors:
"While we don’t comment on rumor or speculation, there are some content creators that think they would benefit from a subscription revenue stream in addition to ads, so we’re looking at that."
Dealing with those content creators could be the final roadblock that Google must navigate to launch this project. Independent labels haven't exactly seen eye to eye with Google over the YouTube model.