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YouTube: Key in the Songs of Life

YouTube is finally launching its much mooted paid for video streaming service, with all major labels and many Indies onboard following a deal with trade body Merlin.

YouTube Music Key’ will cost £9.99 per month including a subscription to the existing Google Play service. The video service is currently in invite only beta, with initial subscribers receiving free access for six months, following this a reduced cost of £7.99 will be charged for a limited time.

The service will launch in the US, UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Finland and Ireland imminently. As with Spotify, an ad supported version will be available (though it’s arguable that this already exists) and paying subscribers have an offline option to access saved videos.

YouTube has been locked into a running battle with Merlin and the Association of Independent Music (AIM) this year over what were seen as “unnecessary and indefensible” negotiating tactics and incredibly unfair terms for Indies- as detailed in this leaked contract from Digital Music News.

In July, more than 750 labels signed a ‘Fair Digital Deals Declaration’ put forth by the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN), the global indie trade group that created Merlin.

Chair of WIN and AIM Alison Wenham said: “We are pleased that Google has recognised the importance of the independent music sector. As we have said all along during this dispute YouTube is a fantastic platform, which is hugely important to our members. Having a fair agreement in place, which acknowledges the value of independent music companies both creatively and commercially is good for all involved. We also continue to take a keen interest in the EU Competition Commission’s ongoing investigation into Google’s wider activities and will always challenge any company when we believe there is abuse of a dominant market position”.

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