Partnering with "hundreds of major and independent" labels, Google's YouTube video service is launching a paid streaming music service. Trumpeting the poorly-kept secret, YouTube says that the offering will "bring our music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year."
A statement from Google is the first official reveal of the service, which has been rumored for some time. There has been no confirmation of the block on independent artists who have not agreed to new deal terms allowing playback.
President of the American Association of Independent Music Rich Bengloff disagrees with Google's assessment that only a small percentage of independent artists are going to be blockaded from playback. "I'm not very happy, obviously," he said. "We're asking to be treated equitably and fairly."
YouTube claims to have already reportedly signed distribution deals with 95 percent of the companies it has deals with for its extant ad-supported music site. The service is expected to launch at the end of the summer, and will likely allow for some offline downloads as well as the ability to play back an entire album.
Neither a specific launch date nor pricing has been announced. The existing service costs $10 per month.