To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

YouTube Music Key officially revealed, beta launches today

$7.99 a month gets you ad-free, offline background playback for all YouTube music content

Google has officially announced YouTube Music Key, a subscription music service based around YouTube video uploads that will go toe-to-toe with Spotify and Apple’s Beats music.

Essentially building on top of YouTube’s existing functionality, Music Key will let users stream uninterrupted music from the site without adverts. User-created playlists will be available for offline playback across all compatible devices, and you won’t need to leave the YouTube app open or screen on, either; Music Key will finally bring background playback to the service on smartphones and tablets.

YouTube Music Key is launching today in the US as a beta, available for $7.99 a month for unrestricted access. The price is set to increase to $9.99 -once the service goes live, although this will also include access to Google Play Music. The service had been rumoured for some time, but was finally made official when YouTube flipped the switch overnight.

To coincide with the launch, Google has also made several music-related tweaks to YouTube, including adding a dedicated music tab at the top of the main navigation bar on the website. It includes channel-curated playlists, highlights new content from favourite artists and displays previously-played songs. YouTube reportedly plans to add music videos for entire albums, as the company aims to organise its massive library of content.

Google now has two separate streaming music services, although YouTube is fairly unique in that a significant portion of the content uploaded by users isn’t available anywhere else – aisde from chart songs and album tracks, there are millions of white label releases, bootlegs, unofficial remixes and live performances. Quite how the company has established royalty payments with the major music labels remains to be seen, but smaller artists, DJs and remixers will almost certainly benefit from increased views – and therefore greater ad revenues.

There’s currently no word on when YouTube Music Key will be made available outside the UK, but we’ll be sure to give it a try as soon as possible.

Read more