YouTube's long-rumored music service will soon be a reality, Google announced Wednesday. Dubbed YouTube Music Key, the monthly subscription service launched an invite-only beta with minimal details.

For a promotional price of US$7.99 per month (discounted from the normal $9.99 per month fee), subscribers will get ad-free music videos that will continue to play even if your mobile screen locks or you switch to another app. You can also download videos for offline viewing and get a subscription to the audio-only Google Play Music service.

That's about all we know for sure. It would seem that the basic idea here is for Google to offer yet another competitor to the likes of Spotify, but with the interesting addition of a music video component through YouTube.

As part of the launch, YouTube's website and app is getting a new official music section that recommends playlists and provides better access to full artist albums and discographies for the first time.

A big part of the pitch for YouTube Music Key revolves around how users have long gone on YouTube not just to listen to music, but to remix, parody and mashup music, too. It's not immediately clear what, if any role user-generated music videos will occupy in the new subscription service.

The move finally gives YouTube an official way to serve the huge demand for online music video viewing without having to worry about copyright concerns. You can request an invite at the Music Key site and get more information in the promotional video below.


View gallery - 2 images