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YouTube to launch subscription music service as soon as December

By Dawn C. Chmielewski

8:46 PM EDT, October 23, 2013

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YouTube is poised to launch a subscription music service as soon as December, positioning it to compete with Spotify, Rdio and other digital offerings, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Internet's dominant online video already is the most popular on-demand music offering in the world.  YouTube even has surpassed radio as the leading way teens and young adults listen to songs. 

A subscription service would seek to build YouTube's strength in digital music. 

YouTube users already can watch an unlimited number of music videos through an application on their mobile devices, as well as through a browser on their computers. 

The subscription service would offer additional features, such as a commercial-free experience and the freedom to store music on a mobile device to listen when not connected to the Internet, according to people with knowledge of the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly.

The YouTube subscription service also would integrate with Google Play Music All Access, which affords subscribers unlimited access to its music catalog, the ability to create personalized radio stations and recommendations based on an individual's taste, these people said.

A spokesman for YouTube said the Google Inc. unit has nothing to announce.

"We’re always working on new and better ways for people to enjoy YouTube content across all screens, and on giving partners more opportunities to reach their fans," said a spokesman. "However, we have nothing to announce at this time."

The news would follow another high-profile event, the YouTube Music Awards, to be held Nov. 3 in New York City. The show is schedule to feature appearances from DJ Avicii, M.I.A., Eminem and Lady Gaga.

YouTube's global reach would make such a premium service an attractive business for the music companies, which would reap recurring revenues.  It would represent a secondary source of revenue, beyond the proceeds from advertising associated with music videos on the site.