An ad-free subscription option for YouTube looks set to launch by the end of October. It will cost $10 a month and include access to legally distributed music.
While it has been known for more than a year that YouTube was working on such an option, the timetable has never been clear. However, the company has now e-mailed video creators with updated terms and conditions that must be agreed to by October 22, strongly suggesting the new service will launch shortly after that date.
The email doesn’t detail exactly how the money will work for video creators but, if they agree to the new terms, it appears they’ll receive a payment for views of videos by customers with the ad-free option.
Setting that payment system could be a tricky balancing act. YouTube will need to keep the payments affordable so that the $10 fee is still profitable. However, it will also need to make the payments attractive enough to get video creators on board. It’s previously said that ideally it would have all videos available on the ad-free service, and even if it fall short of this, it can’t risk having too many videos unavailable with ads else paying the fee starts to feel pointless.
What makes the finances even more questionable is reports that the $10 fee will also include access to YouTube Music Key. That’s an existing product, in beta testing, which includes ad-free access to music, the ability to play music smoothly in the background on the YouTube app, the ability to play music offline in the YouTube app, and access to the All Access option on Google Play music.
Given Google Play All Access already costs $10 a month, and YouTube Music Key costs the same $10 a month including All Access, the idea of a $10 a month fee that’s meant to cover Music Key, All Access and ad-free YouTube — and compensate both video and music producers — really doesn’t seem to make much sense on the surface.