While YouTube’s streaming service is one of the last to join an already crowded marketplace (Spotify, Pandora, iTunes Radio, Rhapsody, Beats Music), many have been keeping an eye on it given the ubiquitous nature of both YouTube and Google. Well, it’s already launched, and in such an understated way that you might not even have noticed. The next time you use YouTube, you might notice an extra tab that says “music.”If you’re looking for the free service, just click on that tab, and you’ve got it. It’s really just YouTube – there’s not that much of a difference, really, other than the fact that it’s all-music. There are video mixes based on what you’ve watched before, suggestions based on what you’ve seen, and different mixes. YouTube have deals in place with the three majors and “hundreds of indies,” according to a YouTube spokesperson.
There’s also a paid tier, YouTube Music Key, which will cost $9.99/month and allow the user to listen offline and ad-free. Subscribers will be given access to Google Play Music. There will be an invite-only beta for the paid tier this coming Monday (17) in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Spain, Italy, Finland and Portugal. In the metal realm, while there are playlists for 17 genres, there’s only one for rock, and it included Guns N’ Roses, Led Zeppelin and Queen, a decidedly more classic rock mix, from what we saw. That’s not particularly heavy, but if you’ve been watching metal videos or music using YouTube, you’ll be able to have a playlist based on what you’ve been listening to. The big question is whether they’re going to be able to convert free users to paid ones. There’s already been some controversy about what they’ll be paying independent artists. And considering that many have used YouTube as a de facto way to find music for free, it’s questionable who might want to pony up $10 for that, especially if they already are used to Spotify.