After a long negotiation process, YouTube’s long hinted-at music service appears to be close to launch. Sources for the Financial Times claim that YouTube has finally signed a deal with Merlin, the rights group that represents about 20,000 indie music labels. The move gives the ad-free streaming option a well-stocked catalog ahead of its launch, which is reportedly due within “weeks.”
Google has overcome the last major barrier to launching its YouTube-based streaming music service. The streaming video platform has struck a deal to license music from smaller record labels, ending a dispute that had included threats to take down videos from acts including Adele and the Arctic Monkeys. The deal, first reported by the Financial Times, was struck between YouTube and Merlin, a company that represents a variety of smaller record labels. Merlin and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment. YouTube has been developing a streaming music service for quite some time. It was originally slated for launch in late 2013, but has been pushed back multiple times. The service is reportedly called “YouTube Music Key” and includes features similar to those found on other music services.