What Is YouTube Music Key? Everything We Know About The Streaming Service

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 19: Recording artist Taylor Swift attends the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 19, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
Source: Bryan Steffy/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

It's been a long, hard week for Taylor Swift fans (what was that damn iPhone game?) but there's hope, my friends. On Wednesday, YouTube revealed its new streaming service Music Key, which promises to fill the hole Swift left in your life — well, slightly and for a price, of course. This probably sounds like great news to you, if you're someone who lives on YouTube. But, I'm sure you're also wondering exactly what YouTube Music Key is and what it has to offer (aside from Swift's music) that its competitors don't? Or, on a more basic level, you're wondering whether or not you should pay $10 a month for it.

YouTube's music partnership director, Christophe Muller, said at the reveal of the site's new venture, "We want to give fans more ways to enjoy music on YouTube, but also give artists more opportunities to connect with fans and earn more revenues." So, essentially Music Key is going to be a cut above the rest because it's guaranteeing that artists that sign on to be a part of its offerings will be compensated for their work, something that Swift is adamant about. 

But, really, do you need Music Key? Here's your handy cheat sheet to what exactly YouTube's streaming service is, how it'll work, and exactly how much of Taylor Swift's discography you'll actually get when you sign up.

What is YouTube Music Key?

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In the most basic terms, it's a music streaming service with access to YouTube's extensive collection of songs and videos. By purchasing a subscription, you'll be able to listen without ads (a huge plus) and it allows you to download playlists for listening offline. But, perhaps the biggest advantage to the new service, according to YouTube at least, is the ability to keep the music playing in the background while you use other apps on your mobile device. Music Key subscribers will also have access to Google's on-demand music service, Google Play Music. 

How Much Does It Cost? 

The service will be available on both your browser and mobile device (it's set to become available to Android users first) and the mobile version has two tiers. The first, is a "free ad-supported service for streaming playlists" that will require users to watch the occasional ad and then there's Music Key, which will eliminate ads entirely and offer the "background playing" service and offline streaming mentioned above. For beta users, who will get a free 6-month trial of the service, the price will be $7.99 when their trial runs out. And for regular users, Music Key will cost a cool $9.99 a month.

When Can You Get It?

If you're one of the lucky, loyal, and consistent listener of music on YouTube already, you'll be invited to try the beta version of Music Key soon. If you're someone who just uses YouTube occasionally to watch and listen to R. Kelly's "Slow Wind Remix," you'll have to wait until 2015 to access the service. 

Will You Have Access To T Swift's 1989?

According to Wired, the only songs from available on Music Key right now are "Shake It Off" and "Blank Space." The only two songs off of 1989 that Swift's released music videos for on YouTube so far. Which, I guess, as Wired points out, is more than other streaming services can say, but it's far from what diehard Swifties want. 

How Is Music Key Different?

Essentially, Music Key and YouTube are frontrunners in the new push for online streaming services to pay greater royalties and/or royalties at all to the artists they give users access to. But aside from that, it might be the access they're going to offer to T Swift that's putting them a cut above. 

Images: Giphy (2); thetenderpassion, uaintamistake/Tumblr

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