Back in November last year, YouTube official confirmed its YouTube Music Key – a music streaming service that offers songs along with videos to its users and is available in both free and paid subscription tiers. Now, YouTube has announced that this service has been pushed back yet again and that the current beta version will be extended till September 2015.
Currently, YouTube Music key is available only as a test version to a select few, and now has been given a four-month extension as the company continues to work on improving and streamlining the service.
“As one of an exclusive group of Music Key beta users, your feedback has helped make it better each day,” reads the email initially reported by The Verge. “And to thank you, we’ve got good news! Your free trial is being extended.” During the additional four months of testing, YouTube will have extra time to touch up both internal features (such as the app’s data usage and its effect on battery life) and external ones (such as its catalog).
As YouTube continues its quest to add further improvements to its forthcoming music streaming service, it is facing several legal challenges in the process. A music rights startup has already issued a billion-dollar lawsuit over unresolved licensing issues, along with several independent artists also expressing concern over the service’s terms and conditions. These are significant threats that are apparently putting much pressure on YouTube, as the company earlier announced that the service would be ready for 2015 launch.
In addition, it’ll be facing stiff competition from emerging and forthcoming music streaming services. Notably, from Apple’s forthcoming music service expected to be announced at WWDC 2015. With Apple acquiring Beats Music last year, we can expect the new service, likely to be called Apple Music, to integrate Beats Technology into iOS along with social features that’ll be available to artists.
Earlier, Rdio also announced plans to launch a new streaming tier for $3.99 a month, most likely a response to go head on with Apple and Spotify. While current industry leader Spotify also announced that it’ll be offering access to audio and with video podcasts. For now, Spotify has the largest user base with a massive 60 million active user base around the globe, out of which only 15 million are paid subscribers. The above figure is interesting to note as it seems users are not yet ready to pay to listen to music. Rdio while announcing its $3.99 streaming tier a month clearly said that the market is not yet ready for paid subscriptions, especially the ones above $5 a month.
This eventually takes a toll on music streaming service providers who just aren’t able to generate enough revenue, leading them to shut down their operations. The past 12 months have been marked by the death of prominent music streaming services Sony Music, Grooveshark, and Simfy. While Spotify, despite having a revenue in excess of $1.1 billion, posted a net loss of $1.8 million, which clearly suggest the hassles posed by these music streaming services.