YouTube boss confirms music subscription service is relaunching 'later this year'

Susan Wojcicki, youtube, sv100 2015Kimberly White/GettyYoutube CEO Susan Wojcicki speak onstage during ‘Who Owns Your Screen?’ at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 9, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Google isn’t going to hand over the online music streaming market to Apple, Spotify or anyone else, if YouTube leader Susan Wojcicki has her way.

Last November, YouTube launched a beta of its Music Key service for about $US8 a month. Today on stage at the Fortune Brainstorm conference, Wojcicki gave an update on the service.

The service allows people to watch music without ads, let them listen offline and have it run on background while they access other apps.

The initial launch was really just a trial run, Wojcicki said, launched to a “few heavy music users” that allowed YouTube to get “a lot of feedback.”

She said YouTube is adjusting it now and “based on feedback, plans to launch later this year.”

Will it take on Apple and Spotify? Not exactly.

“YouTube has an impressive collection of music,” she said. “It’s a little bit different than Apple/Spotify. The music is different and the purpose is different. We have music videos.” So the experience is about “being able to see your favourite artist play a song … it’s magical.”

She said that the YouTube music team is “thinking about how to ‘lean in’ into that more.”

So the upshot is: YouTube sounds like its looking for its service to be something music lovers use in addition to a Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and not take them head on.

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