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YouTube May Launch Ad-Free On-Demand Music Service This Year

YouTube, premium, subscription, on-demand, Spotify

YouTube could soon be rolling out a subscription service that would let users watch music videos on demand without ads. Billboard describes the new offering as “a premium on-demand music service — akin to Spotify, but with video.” Several sources with knowledge of the plans reportedly said YouTube is getting ready to roll out the service before the end of 2013.

The premium level would apparently provide access to a music catalog similar to what’s available on Google’s All Access service, with options for offline, ad-free viewing. The details are, frankly, a bit confusing, but the sources reportedly said there will also be a free level that will probably allow what Billboard describes as “unlimited, on-demand access to full tracks on all platforms, including mobile.”

YouTube is set to hold its first-ever YouTube Music Awards on November 3. Earlier this year, YouTube started offering paid subscription channels from a limited set of partners. A paid YouTube service for music videos would enter a crowded streaming market that now includes Apple’s iTunes Radio. Offerings are also on the way from Trent Reznor and Jimmy Iovine’s Beats-related Daisy service and Neil Young’s Pono. But given that YouTube has gotten its users accustomed to hearing music for free, any shift it might make toward a paid model for music would be one to, um, watch.