It took a couple of years in the making and several false starts, but avid YouTubers breathed a sigh of relief then Susan Wojcicki confirmed that Google were to introduce a YouTube premium subscription service, but as with most breaking news stories, it raised almost as many questions as it answered. One was how it would affect those people who currently subscribe to Google Play Music All Access; we knew that there was something afoot but we didn't know how All Access subscribers could benefit from the YouTube Music Key service. Luckily, it appears that All Access members will get access to Music Key. Our clue in this comes with the Google announcement that as a member of All Access, we'll get "free and complete access to the YouTube Music Key beta, a new service from YouTube where you can watch ad-free videos, and keep the music playing in the background or when you're offline. The Google Play Music app will also include ad-free music alongside selected tracks…"
I should write about the Google Play Music All Access. Here, users pay a small, monthly subscription to Google and in turn benefit from unlimited streaming and downloading of the millions of tracks that are integrated into Google's service. It's available on Android, web browsers and iOS devices, but for the full experience it really needs an Android device. The ability to download music in advance is a good thing for those of us who frequently travel into or through areas with poor coverage or no WiFi. The application has also been developed in leaps and bounds and is now much easier to handle compared with when it the service was first launched.
I'm particularly interested to see what tiered access Google introduce for customers. Currently, Google Play Music All Access costs £10 a month in the UK (and $10 in the US, so it's expensive across here!). Will Google keep the cost the same for existing users of All Access but introduce a new level, perhaps for slightly more, for new users who want access to YouTube clips and All Access? Will we see a lesser service level for customers wanting just All Access or just Music Key? We probably don't have long to wait.