History before our very eyes! Not like, really important history, but history nonetheless. With the world suddenly seeming to realise that the digital aspect of our modern-day existence was actually a lot more important, pervasive and enduring than anybody thought possible, digital companies themselves are upping their respective games. Either that, or they are defending themselves.

Apple announces that it's making iTunes into a streaming service, following on from its acquisition of Beats Music. Spotify showdowns with Taylor Swift and her label. Adele's manager pitches in about streaming being the future. SoundCloud announces a Warner Music-focused subscription service, 'On SoundCloud'. Bandcamp announces their own artist-friendly subscription service. It's been a busy, announcement-filled few months.

Now YouTube have announced their very own music-based subscription service. It is quite weirdly called 'YouTube Music Key' (is that supposed to be like, "music-y"?) and it is basically in beta at the moment. At first, $7.99 will be the per month price (moving to $9.99 after the promotional period – whenever that is) for subscribers.

But what do you get? Three things:

  • 1. Ad-free (like Spotify)
  • 2. Background listening (like SoundCloud)
  • 3. Offline playback (like iTunes)

In all seriousness though this is probably set to become the biggest streaming thing of all. Whether or not it's gonna be the best, that's another story (I vote Bandcamp), but in terms of biggest: yeah. The infrastructure is there already. People have put up with adverts on YouTube for a long time. Spotify introduced them and almost immediately offered a solution; YouTube was a bit more canny, keeping quiet till the right moment. Here's how they said it:

You’ve asked us for ways to listen to music without ads, to keep playing music videos even if you lock the screen or start using another app, and to play music even if you’re not connected to the Internet. That’s why today we're introducing YouTube Music Key beta, a monthly subscription service starting with the promotional price of $7.99/month (discounted from $9.99/month) that will give you all that—ads-free music, background play and offline viewing. It will also include a subscription to Google Play Music, with 30+ million songs, expert-curated playlists, and in the coming days, the ability to watch many YouTube official music videos right from the app.

Thanks to your music videos, remixes, covers, and more, you’ve made YouTube the biggest music service on the planet. To turn YouTube into your perfect music service, we’re launching YouTube Music Key as a beta with our biggest music fans first, and then we’ll bring YouTube Music Key to the whole world together. So, if you see an invite in your app or email, try it out for six months for free.

Try out the beta by hopping over to youtube.com/musickey. Also, here is a video about it Music Key and the beta version.