We’ve been hearing about offline playback and some changes Google intends to make in its service offerings, but we’ve now got some evidence as to where Google’s headed with YouTube and Google Play Music.
Google’s naming its new music subscription YouTube Music Key, and it will provide ad-free playback, offline playback mode, as well as an audio-only mode that’ll allow you to turn off video playback and listen to the music alone. We applaud this move with YouTube, seeing that this has always been one thing that’s irked us about YouTube. With such a vast music service that’s available on video, we wonder why Google waited until now to implement this audio-only mode. The ad-free music is expected as a number of companies are starting to charge to have ads removed from their Internet music or Internet radio services.
The offline playback mode is a welcome feature for those who may not have a connection via Wi-Fi or LTE data (depending on the region and circumstance at the moment) and want to listen to music outside of Internet-connected areas.
Last but not least, the diamond in Google’s new YouTube Music Key service is that you will have access to not only YouTube’s new audio music subscription service, but also Google’s Play Music service as well. Formerly, Google’s Play Music subscription service was priced at $9.99 monthly without access to anything new with YouTube. YouTube’s been offered as a free service, but it only provides video play without an audio service. Now, you’ll be able to utilize YouTube’s new service alongside of Google’s Play Music service for $9.99 monthly.
This seems to be a good deal for those who’re interested in living their lives at YouTube on a daily basis, and it also seems to be excellent for Android users who don’t care for Spotify or Pandora and want something exclusive to Google. At the same time, however, Samsung users who’ve been won over to Samsung’s Milk Music service (powered by Slacker Radio) will continue to listen to their favorite radio stations and tailor those stations to provide the songs that they like – so they won’t likely need to add YouTube Music Key as an offering.
And, for those who own a Samsung device and want to have an ad-free, offline playback experience, you can always take advantage of the company’s new $3.99 premium service that provides offline playback, unlimited skips, and a radio service without ads.
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As for the new YouTube Music Key service, we’re excited – but we hope that Google adds a “repeat” function for both the video music and audio music services. One of the most frustrating things about YouTube’s music playback (currently) is that, once the video arrives at its end, the watcher has to manually start the video over again. It’d be nice to have an automatic video and audio playback where we can continue to type that email, or read that intriguing news article, without having to lose our concentration in order to keep the music going.
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Since hearing about Google’s Songza ambitions, we’ve hoped that Google would bring an Internet radio service to Android as a whole – but no such luck yet. Do you think Google’s headed in the right direction? Should Google go head to head against the likes of Spotify and Pandora? You be the judge.