Over the years, YouTube has established itself as the place to go for music videos (and live performances and remixes and covers and whatnot), and the service is embracing its musicality with a dual-pronged new-feature assault.
Google has officially announced YouTube Music Key, its long-rumoured Spotify-style streaming service, alongside a spanking new free-to-use Music section within YouTube.
Starting with that new YouTube Music section, it’ll show your favourite videos, recommended playlists based on what you’ve been listening to, and trending music.
In addition, you’ll find full albums – as in official full albums, not just user uploads - alongside discographies and official music videos.
As for YouTube Music Key, it arrives in beta form initially, and essentially looks to take on existing music streaming services like Spotify.
Music Key addresses several issues that have long plagued users of the iOS and Android YouTube apps, including the ability to keep songs playing when you leave the app, and to continue listening when you’ve locked your device.
Yeah, there’s a very good reason YouTube didn’t include that simple functionality before: because it’s incorporated into the £9.99/$9.99 per month streaming service.
Furthermore, subscribers can kiss goodbye to ads; access the 30 million+ tracks on Google Play; and – much like Spotify – save music to their devices and listen offline.
Google has invited its “biggest music fans” to try YouTube Music Key first, free for six months (check your app or Gmail for the invite). Failing that, you can register for updates at youtube.com/musickey.