YouTube is the go-to site for finding millions of music videos for free. But the company is now joining the ranks of Spotify, Pandora and Beats Music in trying to get people to pay to (press) play.
The company's new streaming service, called Music Key, offers one thing that its competitors don't: video.
To entice users to pay for a $10 monthly subscription to watch music videos that are already available for free on YouTube, Music Key offers added features, such as the abilities to skip ads, play music offline and run the service in the background.
"A lot of times people are playing the music video and also doing other things on the device, so we wanted to be able to do that, which is what background enables you to do," YouTube engineering director Sowmya Subramanian told CNET's Sumi Das.
The subscription fee also includes access to Google Play Music.
Currently in beta, Music Key will roll out in the U.S. and a few countries in Europe before going worldwide. It is doing so at a time when music streaming has hit a sour note with some artists. Taylor Swift recently pulled all her songs off Spotify, arguing that streaming is detracting from paid album sales.
But "streaming is here to stay," said CNET senior writer Joan E. Solsman. "It's up to artists and labels to figure out how they can fit that into the future."
YouTube said it has signed deals with hundreds of major and indie labels from all over the world.