After a long gestation period, YouTube has taken the wraps off its new music app, YouTube Music. USA Today reports that the app, which is expected to be a big presence in the space occupied by players such as Spotify and Apple Music, leverages YouTube’s massive music library along with its focus on video.
The new service if free, with an ad-free version available as part of the $9.99-per-month YouTube Red subscription service.
The service is “chock full of music videos, many album cuts, late-night TV performances, documentary cuts and live gigs from around the world,” USA Today reports. “YouTube also has deals with the record labels to present complete albums — even if they don’t have videos, for music listening.”
Starting in January, original YouTube content will also be offered.
USA Today adds: “Red subscribers also get offline access to the songs, and the ability to play music in the background. For instance, they can open the app, start a playlist, and then move onto the answering e-mail or posting to Facebook while listening. On the free version, once you navigate elsewhere, the music stops playing.”
The service reportedly makes it easy for users to flip the switch between video and audio. Says YouTube product manager Manuel Bronstein: “If you want to be closer to the artist, you can watch the live performance, but if you’re in the car, you can listen to audio.”