YouTube Music Key Closed Beta Begins, Offers Ad-Free Subscription Streaming Service To Rival Spotify

By Connor Sears , Updated Nov 21, 2014 11:56 AM EST

YouTube's new Music Key service, a premium subscription service that allows ad-free music streaming from YouTube, is now up in a closed beta that offers a free, six-month trial.

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If you're one of the lucky few who has access to the beta, just load up your existing iOS or Android YouTube app, and it will walk you through the new service. YouTube Music Key has features similar to the subscription model of the other big player in music streaming, Spotify, including offline listening through the caching of songs and, of course, a lack of ads.

Music Key also lets you listen to music in the background, without having the actual app open. You can start working in another app, or just shut off your screen altogether, and your music will still be playing. The catch is that, when a song ends, you'll have to go back to the app and pick out your next song unless you're in the middle of a YouTube playlist. Gizmodo helpfully describes the experience as being akin to having a YouTube tab minimized on your desktop. There are ways for you to set up playlists, but sometimes you will have to go into the app and pick your next song selection manually.

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Beta key recipients should have received an email letting them know if they're eligible for the current six-month trial offer. If you're unsure about your status, just load up your YouTube app and see if it gives you the Music Key spiel. The service also runs in tandem with Google Play Music. If you have a subscription to one, you have a subscription to both.

Once the service rolls out to the rest of us, it'll run users $10 a month to sign up ($8 if you sign up after being in the six-month beta trial).

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