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Google readying YouTube subscription service with offline playback for $9.99 a month

Google has reportedly been building a paid music service for years, but has been delayed by licencing disagreements and the exit of top execs

Google is preparing to launch a new music service for YouTube that will charge users $9.99 a month for access to more than 20 million songs video and audio-only streaming and offline playback.

Called YouTube Music Key, the service will run alongside Google’s current Spotify-competitor Google Play Music All Access, with the latter rebranded as Google Play Music Key, according to an exclusive report from Android Police.

Users will be offered a free 30 day trial to YouTube Music Key, with the services offering not only official discographies but live footage and covers as a way to stand out from its rivals.

Android Police speculate that the service will also make use of YouTube’s existing prowess when it comes to curation, with both fans and algorithms already creating playlists for the service.

There’s a lot of unanswered questions, including when the service might launch and in which countries, but it’s unlikely that Google will roll it out to European markets at the same time as the US.

Google has so far had a lot of trouble in pushing a paid YouTube service, with the Wall Street Journal reporting in July that the head of the project left the search giant to join a startup.

Google are under pressure to launch soon or later, with the YouTube licencing agreements they signed with major record labels reportedly requiring them to launch “a successful music service” to allay the labels' fears that YouTube's free playback is hurting their revenues.

Google refused to comment.