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YouTube music service launching soon, according to CEO

Susan Wojcicki told the Recode mobile conference YouTube is "working on it"

YouTube has reportedly been working on a music streaming service for several years, but according to comments from the company CEO a launch may not be too far away. Speaking at the Recode mobile conference this week, Susan Wojcicki said YouTube was “working on it” and that the unnamed service should arrive “soon”.

Little is known about the streaming service, which is expected to be similar to Spotify – meaning free, ad-supported streaming and a paid service with no adverts or interruptions, but with music videos as well as audio only tracks. Google has apparently come close to launching the service several times this year already, but departures of major executives and problems with independent music labels have prevented the company from doing so.

When it does eventually launch, it’s possible the service will be called YouTube Music Key. Earlier this year, Android Police obtained an updated version of the YouTube app for Android which included a full breakdown of the rumoured service, including a $9.99 price for US customers that would remove all adverts. It will reportedly include audio-only playback for background listening, the ability to keep playing YouTube playlists even when you lock your handset, and full offline playback. The latter would be an improvement on the current YouTube cache system, which requires an internet connection to kick off playback for anything in the ‘saved for later’ category on Android smartphones.

According to Wojcicki, one of the obstacles to launch is working out “how to give people options”, which probably means the company is still deciding on final pricing tiers and what will be included in each of the price plans. Considering the service is rumoured to include concert footage, bonus tracks and behind-the-scenes content, it might take a little more thinking compared to Spotify or other streaming services.

We still don’t know an exact launch date for the service, but based on Wojcicki’s comments we may not have too much longer to wait.

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