CNET First Look
YouTube Music KeyIs YouTube's new subscription music video service right for you? CNET's Donald Bell shares his opinion.
[MUSIC] Hey, I'm Donald Bell and today I'm giving you a first look at YouTube's subscription music service called Music Key. You may have noticed that YouTube recently updated their website and their mobile app to include a breakout tab for music right at the top. Click it and you'll see a list of personalized music video mixes based on the kinds of videos that you've watched in the past. You also get some curated playlists of popular music and mixes based on moods or genres. What you may not have noticed is that if you click on a artist's name or search for their channel, you'll find a listing of their albums, top songs, and sometimes even the top cover versions of their songs. Click through to an album and now you have the ability to hear all the songs on an album. Sometimes the songs are associated with a music video but more often than not you're just hearing the music along with a still of the album art. From here you can save songs or entire albums as a playlist, like any video on YouTube it's easy to share the link for others to hear. Everything I said so far you can go and do right now. For free. This isn't Music Key. This is just the revamped YouTube that's making a serious effort to serve as a place where people can go and expect to hear any song they want for free, with that. The problem is, once you get hooked on YouTube's new full catalog of music, the usually in-between video ads start to get on your nerves. And that's where Music Key comes in. For 9.99 a month or 7.99 for a limited time YouTube will stop playing ads against videos that they categorize as music. All other YouTube content will still have ads, but so long as you stay in the music tab, most of your stream should be ad free. You can tell because YouTube puts this little blue badge next to the video. [MUSIC] Now to sweeten the deal, Google throws in access to their Google Play music service, which is a more traditional Spotify music competitor. Subscribers can also use the YouTube app to cache YouTube videos for offline playback or keep playlists running as background music even when you're out of the app. I could get these features to work on Android, but not in iOS yet. This is a beta, so it is a work in progress. So what's the down side? Well, compared to a Spotify or a Beats music there is no family pricing plan yet that would allow you to use this as a blanket music subscription for your whole family. And even though I'm impressed with the size of the catalog, unless you know what you are looking for, the tools for discovering new music are pretty blunt compared to a Spotify or even an iTunes. YouTube also makes no promises on sound quality. So if you are picky about that kind of thing it is probably not the place for you. So that is YouTube musickey, which is currently available as a invite only public beta over at youtube.com/musickey. Wether you pay for it or not if you have another way for music fans to hear there favorite music online or on the go. ?