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Design problems are delaying YouTube’s new music service

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There’s been no official word yet, but we’ve seen enough rumors and murmurings to be pretty confident that Google is working on a YouTube-based music subscription service, even though it already has Google Play Music in its portfolio. The video-sharing site is awash with music, both authorized and unauthorized, and for many people it’s the go-to service for free tunes.

The last we heard of the YouTube ‘Music Pass’ was that it would launch sometime during the course of 2014 with both a free level and a subscription level that removed ads (as well as enabling extra features such as offline playback). Now a fresh rumor courtesy of the Verge suggests that design issues are holding up the launch.

Apparently Google executives are insisting that the platform is competitive right from day one — the powers-that-be are reluctant to launch a beta product that’s refined over time, as is often the case with Google services. With all of this internal wrangling, we won’t be enjoying a YouTube-powered jukebox experience any time before the summer.

An executive briefed on the plans told Billboard the company was determined to “get it right” from the beginning. Google already has deals with the major labels in place, so only the logistics of how the platform will work need to be ironed out. “They feel that there’s just too much scrutiny of this product, and that they need to get it right out of the gate,” said the senior label executive.

Sticking points mentioned by Billboard include the way the service will integrate with the functionality that YouTube already offers, and the content that will be shown alongside music that doesn’t have an official video — ideas around album artwork, artist bio information and iTunes-style visualizations have all been floated.

With the likes of Spotify, Rdio, Beats Music and others already on the scene, it’s understandable that Google is waiting until it can make the biggest splash possible. If you’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new service, you’ll have to console yourself with the thought that it should be a polished and feature-rich experience, once it finally does arrive.

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David Nield
Dave is a freelance journalist from Manchester in the north-west of England. He's been writing about technology since the…
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