Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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YouTube Music Pass "Weeks Away" From Launch

Google subsidiary YouTube is a "few weeks" away from launching its heavily rumored music service, named YouTube Music Pass, after signing a deal with Merlin, a rights agency responsible for thousands of indie labels.

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The deal puts YouTube Music Pass on level with Spotify, Deezer and Apple-owned Beats Music - all three music streaming services vying for success. Others, like Rdio and Pandora, are also looking to grab listeners, but rely on radio stations more than song choice.

There will be two sides to YouTube Music Pass, a free-side with advertisements and no offline viewing - YouTube might also implement limited listens and other barriers - in order to get users to pay for the subscription option.

No word on what the price will be for the monthly subscription. YouTube will be offering almost the same flat rate per listen as Spotify and other music services - something several artists have taken issue over.

YouTube Music Pass will allow paid users to download songs for 24 hours and listen to them offline, without ads. Spotify has recently added this feature for users who are travelling, allowing them to continue listening to songs even when wireless disappears.

Other than that, YouTube Music Pass appears to be the same as most other music services. Users may be able to switch directly to the YouTube app to watch the music video and sign-in through their Google account, instead of creating a new account for the service.

YouTube's CEO Susan Wojcicki has said they are "working on it" in an interview with CNET, but refused to give details on a time window or any new features. There is a lot of music on the service, according to Wojcicki, meaning artists like The Black Keys and Taylor Swift might be available to listen.

It was reported a few months ago that Google was using its YouTube view power to force music companies into signing contracts, or face the removal of videos on YouTube. This was never fully confirmed, but if artists are on YouTube Music Pass and not on Spotify, there has probably been some harsh words to make those artists appear.

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