YouTube is preparing to launch a paid subscription tier by the end of this year, with the company saying yesterday that it is making good progress in striking the necessary licensing deals with creators and publishers. “We are progressing according to plan. We have support from the overwhelming majority of our partners, with well over 90% of YouTube watchtime covered by agreements, and more in the pipeline about to close,” a spokesperson told Bloomberg.
The article adds a bit more juice to that quote, suggesting that while YouTubers and music labels are already on board, TV networks including Fox, NBC and CBS (this is a US report, as you may have guessed) have yet to agree deals with YouTube. Also note Bloomberg’s suggestion that YouTube “may fold Music Key” into the new subscription offering, which would certainly be one explanation for delaying the streaming music service’s commercial launch – while also leaving Google Play to focus on streaming audio.