While Taylor Swift and her camp continue their war of words with Spotify, among a variety of announcements from Google this month of November, YouTube formally announced and confirmed their long rumoured music streaming service to the world.

YouTube Music Key launches in beta form this week with a special invite only system. When it's fully released, users will be able to pay $7.99 (£7.99) before rising to the industry standard of $10 (£10) at a later date which will include ad-free music on YouTube and long requested features such as offline YouTube playback and background listening (which is excellent because sometimes I just want to listen to that video version of a song without actually watching the video). The announcement of Music Key comes three years after Google announced Play Music; an online music locker and streaming service which allows users to upload up to 20,000 of their own songs as well as (for a fee) access to their streaming service. Since its announcement, Google has been working with labels in various countries to bring the service to a number of territories and to date it is now available in over 58 countries.

Streaming has become big business in the last 12 to 18 months, more so in the UK since streaming now finally counts towards chart positions. Rdio has been making multiple updates to its system over the last year and looks set to take hold of a real share of the market. In January, Beats Electronics launched Beats Music to much fanfare and swallowed iTunes Radio when Apple acquired Beats in October. Rumours suggest that Beats Music will be incorporated into Apple's own streaming service iTunes Match which, at this point is in direct competition with itself. But without an international presence, it's difficult for Beats to make any impression on streaming. Then we have the big dog - Spotify, who just this week announced it now has over 50 million registered users with over 12.5 million being paying customers. The company also confirmed that it has paid out some $2 million to music industry rights holders since its launch in 2008, reiterating the fact that 70% of all of its income goes directly to them.

Lately, Taylor Swift has become something of a technophobe. Ahead of the release of her fifth studio album 1989, Swift told Alan Carr that she was terrified of her album being leaked. "I don't even want to talk about it, I don't trust technology, I don't want to talk about leaks; it freaks me out, I will have a meltdown on the show." Even during the release of her fourth album Red, Swift was reluctant to put her music on Spotify and famously made the album available for streaming weeks after its initial release. Upon removing her entire catalogue from Spotify, she told Yahoo that it felt akin to a "grand experiment" and that it "didn't feel right" to her. "I'm not willing to contribute my life's work to an experiment that I don't feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music. And I just don't agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free." Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Records, Swift's record label echoed her comments saying the decision to pull her music from the service was "out of respect for her superfans " adding that her catalogue earned the company less than $500,000 in the past 12 months from domestic streaming. Spotify quickly dispelled these comments, confirming the total payout for Swift's streaming over the past 12 months globally was $2 million, covering both her label and publisher. Founder Daniel Ek pointed the finger at the deals acts have with their labels - and how much of a share of this revenue record companies are claiming and found the situation to be "frustrating" in an open letter posted on Spotify's blog.

Adele's manager Jonathan Dickins, who is something of a streaming advocate, feels that Spotify should offer a premium only tier for musicians, meaning only those who pay for the service can access a select amount of music in their opening weeks. "My feeling would be to get around the situation with someone like Taylor Swift - but Spotify won't do it - is a window between making something available on the premium service, earlier than it's made available on the free service." U2 frontman Bono, who is no stranger to his own fight with music lovers also supports the efforts of Spotify and also points the finger at record label bosses claiming "...people don't know where the money is because the record companies aren't being transparent." Dickins' comments arrived just days before the Financial Times reported that YouTube had finally struck a deal with indie trade body Merlin to licence music from indie labels such as XL Recordings and Domino Records. Back in June, discussions were rumoured to be at breaking point after YouTube placed what the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) called "unnecessary and indefensible" terms on the table.

Here's the thing. As I'm writing this and as you're reading it, I, like many of Taylor Swift's so called "superfans" can go onto YouTube or Google and find a free copy of the album with very little effort. I haven't been to school in a number of years but the last time I checked, one is still more than zero - surely earning $496,044 in one year from streaming makes more sense that earning $0 from YouTube and internet piracy (Editor's Note: For clarification, YouTube does have a Content ID model in place for collecting royalties, but that's not perfect). Spotify gives those who necessarily cannot afford to buy a new album every week the opportunity to support their favourite artists without losing its value. On the flip side, for someone with a little more disposable income to play with, it offers up the opportunity to preview a record before hitting that "buy" button.

Google could be onto a winner here. Unlike all the other streaming networks, 1989 is still available to buy through their store, which in essence means is still available to stream for those subscribed to their All Access service - something that no other service can offer. With the addition of offline play for YouTube and a truly ad free experience, something that users have been calling for in recent years, YouTube and Google Play offer way more for your $10 a month compared to Spotify, Beats Music, Rdio and the rest. Strangely, at the time of writing, streams on Google Play All Access do not count towards chart positions on the official UK charts, yet considerably lesser known services likes Xbox Music and rara are. What we should all be agreeing on in the meantime is streaming services are not harming the music industry. With record sales at an all time low, one could argue that streaming is the one thing keeping the music industry afloat. Instead of fighting each other, labels, streaming services, artist and managers should be working together to do more to fight internet piracy and bring some value back into their craft.