Last week, YouTube announced its new music streaming option called YouTube Music Key. The website, which has nearly one billion monthly users, is one of the world’s most popular music sites. YouTube, known for providing access to virtually any and all music free of charge, is redesigning the way it connects music listeners and producers.
YouTube Music Key is an effort to simultaneously provide fans with endless hours of music while increasing music revenues and repaying artists for their work.
This change comes at a time when the music and recording industry are growing more vocal about the decline in music sales. Many analysts contribute this decrease to the ever-rising popularity music streaming.
While YouTube currently pays record companies and artists a portion of advertisement revenue, which totaled about $220 million last year, analysts estimate that the music industry will lose nearly $2.3 billion in revenue because most content on YouTube will remain free.
YouTube Music Key will begin as an invitation only offer. Those who are chosen to test the new feature will be able to use it free of charge for six months. After six months, the invitees will be charged $8. When the feature is released to the general public, which is expected in the next year, the service will cost $10 per monthly subscription.
Subscribers will be able to listen to music without the interruption of ads. In addition, audio quality will increase and users will be able to listen to music offline when using the YouTube app.
Taylor Swift is notorious for removing her music from Spotify and vocalizing her negative views on music streaming. However, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Sam Valenti IV, the founder of Ghostly, a small record label stated, “YouTube has allowed a lot of people to discover music, and if that is where people feel good about listening, then it’s the music industry’s job to figure out how to make that work.”