YouTube may finally be close to launching its music subscription service: The Google-owned video streaming service has signed a deal with Merlin, the independent music trade group that represents more than 2,000 indie labels including XL Recordings, Epitaph and Domino, according to a Financial Times report. A YouTube spokesperson declined to comment.
That agreement should set the path for [company]YouTube[/company] to launch its service in the next few weeks. YouTube already obtained licenses from all three major labels earlier this year, but negotiations with Merlin broke down over licensing terms, delaying the launch of YouTube’s music service for months. At one point, a YouTube executive even threatened that music from artists that weren’t part of the paid service would be blocked altogether.
With the licensing resolved, YouTube should be ready to launch the service in the coming weeks. YouTube hasn’t said what exactly the service is going to offer, but users are expected to have ad-free access to songs and music videos, as well as the ability to cache songs for offline listening on mobile devices.