Peter Kafka

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YouTube’s Music Subscription Service Won’t Show Up This Year

Peter Kafka

Waiting for YouTube’s subscription music service? You’re going to have to be patient.

The video service, which is already the biggest free music service in the world, had planned on launching a paid service this year. Now that won’t happen until 2014.

People familiar with the company’s plan say it is now looking at a Q1 launch, though it doesn’t have a specific date nailed down. YouTube already has the licenses it needs from music owners to launch the service, but I’m told that the company isn’t satisfied with the product itself.

One issue for YouTube’s team to figure out: The best way to integrate user-generated content, like lipsyncs and mashups, along with conventional recordings and videos.

The decision to delay the launch is a relatively new one. As recently as late October, people in and outside of the company were expecting to see the service in 2013. And traces of a subscription service have shown up buried inside new versions of YouTube’s mobile app.

YouTube, which has never formally acknowledged the service, continues not do so. Here’s a non-statement from a YouTube rep: “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.”

Whenever YouTube Music does launch, it will be Google’s second music subscription service. Earlier this year Google’s Android unit launched its “All Access” service, which offers unlimited, on-demand streaming on PCs, phones and laptops for $10 a month, in much the same way rival services like Spotify do.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus