YouTube Planning Subscription Service - Report

Streaming video site eyeing launch as early as December

The YouTube logo.
ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images
The YouTube logo.
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YouTube is planning to enter the crowded music-subscription market, possibly by December, vying with Spotify, Beats by Dre's upcoming "Project Daisy" service, Rdio and others to draw customers away from piracy and Apple's iTunes music store. The service, according to multiple reports, will sync with Google Play Music All Access, owned by YouTube's parent company and give subscribers access to music videos.

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Thus Google would be able to integrate several valuable digital-music features -- track storage on phones, a Pandora-like service for customizing radio stations, a commercial-free portion of the service -- for its websites and Android mobile platforms. This would make Google even more powerful in its competition with Apple, which recently announced its iTunes Radio service had reached 20 million users, who streamed 1 billion songs, in its first five weeks. But YouTube and Google had not commented on specifics about the service, including costs and launch date: "We’re always working on new and better ways for people to enjoy YouTube content across all screens, and on giving partners more opportunities to reach their fans," a spokesman told the Los Angeles Times. "However, we have nothing to announce at this time."

As Spotify and other services have struggled to build a listener base and make a profit, YouTube has dominated the music-streaming market. People in the music business have been predicting for years that subscription services would take over the market, but their presence is kicking in this year. Fans can listen to almost any song for free -- legally -- so download sales have been dropping throughout 2013. But piracy numbers are down, as well -- in a report earlier this year, The NPD Group showed the number of illegally downloaded music files was down by 26 percent last year compared to 2012.