By Stephen Schenck | October 24, 2013 6:12 PM
Changes are on their way for YouTube, and how we access the service on our mobile devices. We were just telling you about how it looks like the Android app is going to get the ability to keep videos playing in the background or with your screen off, and earlier heard about progress towards implementing an offline mode, for caching clips where a data connection’s not available. Today we catch wind of a much larger effort to rethink the sort of services YouTube provides, with rumors of an upcoming subscription music service.
This project is supposed to be focused on mobile devices, where it would compete against the likes of Spotify (and so many other subscription music providers). It’s reportedly very near to launching, and could go live before the end of the year.
The details behind just how this would work are a little fuzzy: there might be a free tier, ad-supported like YouTube videos already out there, in addition to a paid option. However, the descriptions of even the free tier make it sound quite full-featured, with on-demand access to specific tracks. The only difference might be that the paid version includes things like full albums that might not otherwise be available, if one were just relying on the whims of YouTube uploaders.
There’s also the chance that this paid tier might play off that upcoming offline mode, allowing you to store a local library of songs pulled from YouTube, and maybe without facing the time restriction that would otherwise be imposed.
Still, we have plenty of questions, and don’t quite yet see how this might improve upon what’s already being done elsewhere – especially when put up against Google’s own All Access. Presumably, this would include music videos where available, but it might take more than just that hook to succeed.