Business

YouTube to launch paid music service

NEW YORK —YouTube will soon unveil a paid subscription service for music that will compete with outlets like Spotify, according to several people briefed on the company’s plans.

YouTube, a division of Google, plans to introduce the service by the end of the year, perhaps as early as next month, the people said. Subscriptions, at about $10 a month, would be tailored to mobile devices and give users access to YouTube’s vast catalog of music videos without interruptions from advertising.

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The service will also let customers temporarily store videos on their smartphones and tablets to watch offline, according to the people, who were not authorized to discuss the service publicly.

YouTube declined to comment directly on its plans, but said in a statement: “We’re always working on new and better ways for people to enjoy YouTube content across all screens, and on giving partners more opportunities to reach their fans. However, we have nothing to announce at this time.”

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The news of the imminent arrival of the service, which has been rumored in the music industry for months, was first reported by Billboard.

The new service, whose name was not known, would solve problems for both YouTube and the music industry. Mobile access to YouTube has exploded lately — Google recently announced that 40 percent of YouTube’s traffic was mobile, compared with 6 percent two years ago — but the lower advertising rates on tablets and smartphones have caused some music labels to block their content from those devices. Through the subscription deals, YouTube would gain the licenses it needs to stream music to any device.

In exchange, record labels and music publishers, which have long complained that YouTube’s per-stream payouts were low compared with those of other services, would earn higher royalty rates. Music companies would also be able to tame somewhat the chaos of content on YouTube by organizing music in full albums and playlists.

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