YouTube Music Key closer to launch as indie record deal agreed

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Google-owned YouTube has finally struck a licensing deal with independent music labels.

It's been a long-time coming but YouTube may just have overcome the final barrier preventing them from pressing ahead with their highly-anticipated streaming service.

The dispute between YouTube and indie record labels has been rumbling on for many months. Earlier this year the video streaming website threatened to remove content from artists like the Arctic Monkey and Adele, both of whom are signed to indie labels.

Now according to a report in the Financial Times, YouTube have thrashed out the deal with Merlin Network, which is a company that represent the rights of world's leading independent music labels.

What does this mean for us consumers?

First of all it means YouTube's Music Key will be closer to launch than ever, just how close is currently unknown. It was supposed to launch in late 2013 but got pushed back, likely due to the ongoing struggle getting record labels onboard; the most recent rumours have pointed towards a launch late this year.

Listening to songs or watching music videos on YouTube for free is likely going to be thing of the past. YouTube is unlikely to allow free content to be uploaded onto their system while they are trying to get users to sign up to their paid subscription service.

Exactly what kind of a service and how much YouTube will charge is currently unclear and hasn't been confirmed by either YouTube or Google. A report on Android Police in August claimed that YouTube Music Key will cost $9.99 a month, and for that fee users will have access to more than 20m songs and videos curated specifically for YouTube.

When Music Key launches it will have to compete with the markets biggest players like Spotify, Deezer and Amazon Prime. Tech giants Apple are also expected to launch a completely revamped music streaming service after they purchased Beats Electronics earlier this year.