YouTube launched its Music Key beta in November 2014 with a free six-month trial for early adopters. Six months later, the trial was extended until mid-September, suggesting that YouTube Music Key isn’t ready for a commercial rollout. Yesterday, Music Ally talked to YouTube’s head of content and business operations Robert Kyncl, who provided an update.
“We’re still going through some development. The launch is coming in a few months from here: there’s a little bit of a delay, but nothing too serious,” he said. “We got a lot of really great feedback, and thought it was better to address most of it than to launch without [addressing] it… We’re a lot smarter about the product from those heaviest users.”
Kyncl declined to set a new date for Music Key’s launch: “I can’t promise the date: it’s already going a little too far even saying ‘a few months’ – if you’re delayed another few months you keep getting asked about it. We’re happy that users are engaging and giving us their feedback.”
Meanwhile, while talking about YouTube’s plans for a more general (i.e. non-music) subscription service, Kyncl defended YouTube’s core focus on free. “Our free ad-supported business is growing incredibly fast. We’ll always have that: that’s our core, and we’ll never stop focusing on it,” he said. “It’s in Google’s DNA to be in the ad-supported business. Subscription is an add-on. It’s an adjacent business that we’re building.”