We’re not sure exactly how this fits into YouTube’s planned Music Key expansion, but an ad-free version of the video service is definitely on its way. Over the weekend, YouTube started sending letters to holdout content owners requiring agreement to updated terms and conditions that would enable the premium upgrade.
Content owners have until October 22nd to update the agreement, or their videos will be removed.
The email, leaked to Re/Code, notes that ’95 percent’ of content owners have already agreed to the updated terms. “To give fans more choice we will be launching a new ads-free version of YouTube, available to fans for a monthly fee,” YouTube offered in the email. “This service will create a new source of revenue over time that supplements your advertising revenue. We want to ensure that fans who choose to pay for an ads-free experience can watch all the same videos that are available on the ads-supported experience.”
But, don’t play ball, and you can find somewhere else to put your videos. “If you haven’t signed by that date, your videos will no longer be available for public display or monetization in the United States,” the note warns, though rights owners will have the ability to change their mind after October 22nd and revive their videos.
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Re/Code noted that the ad-free YouTube would be packaged into a Music Key launch, though that represents the latest switch-up in a disorganized and delayed release. “An update of its music service, which it launched in beta as YouTube Music Key last fall, and another service, yet to launch… will give users the ability to watch anything on YouTube without seeing ads,” Re/Code notes.
Regardless, it now definitely appears that YouTube will not be tolerating holdouts. Several months ago, YouTube threatened artists that refused to participate in Music Key by removing their channel content, a harsh step that was initially denied until transcripts proved the harsh stance. Since that point, YouTube remained vague on when Music Key would launch, with executives hesitant to commit to a timetable.
More details as they emerge.