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YouTube app provides hints about planned music service

By | Published on Thursday 28 November 2013


Google has just pushed out an updated YouTube app for the Android operating system, and website Android Police has taken a sneaky look at the code and discovered various bits n pieces that are seemingly linked to the audio-based music service that the video site is busy developing behind closed doors.

As previously reported, it’s thought that YouTube is plotting a new music set-up that will sit inside its video platform, which is, of course, already the world’s biggest streaming music service, even though it’s never officially positioned as such.

Though, whereas only tracks accompanied by a video (or synced in a video file with a static image) can be uploaded to YouTube as it currently stands, the new platform will take complete audio catalogues from labels in much the same way as Pandora and Spotify. But, it’s assumed, the new YouTube service would do something with the artwork attached to each track so that there was still a visual element to the experience.

According to Android Police, code in the new YouTube app makes various references to something called ‘Music Pass’, which could be connected to this new platform.

Other bits of code suggest that the audio offer will allow offline listening on mobile akin to the smartphone apps operated by Spotify et al, that there will be some kind of upsell, and that at least one option – presumably a subscription-based one – will provide uninterrupted music with “no ads on millions of songs”.

Asked about what the Android app told us about any planned music service, a spokesman for YouTube told GigaOM: “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. However, we have nothing to announce at this time”.

As previously noted, any YouTube music service would compete with the Google Play streaming set-up. It’s not clear if there is any joined up thinking between the two Google-owned platforms, though indications suggest both services will be licensed via the same label and publisher agreements.