Google and YouTube are working on at least one subscription music service to complement YouTube (free music videos) and Google Music (free music locker and download store). Our theory is that this is because some label(s) are pressuring Google into the music subscription space by threatening to withhold their music from YouTube. We think we’re right about that, in part because the kids already think YouTube is a music service anyway — it just doesn’t have a subscription tier yet.
However, you can already use YouTube like a music service right now, browsing by any artist or album on the site — just like you would with Rdio, Spotify, iTunes and so on. Here’s how:
1. Search for a song
At this point, YouTube doesn’t seem to have a public page that lets you browse all of its artists, so in order to try this trick, you must first search the general site for the artist you’re interested in playing on YouTube. In this case, I’ll search for Javelin, because it’s my brother and my cousin (who released a great new album this week, bee tee dubs).
2. Open a video by the artist you seek
If you do this for a band that is officially recognized by YouTube, you’ll see a link for there name right about here:
3. Click on the artist name
See that artist name, like the one in the above picture? Yeah, smartypants, that’s what you want to click, but of course you already knew that.
4. Behold the glory of artist and album browsing on YouTube!
You will be able to see every song, and even album recognized by YouTube, all in one neat, handy place. You can make them into playlists for sharing, and enjoy with no limits. We recommend listening to them at the best possible sound quality, while you’re at it.
On our example’s page, you can see 14 songs and one album. It’s not everything, but it’s not nothing, either, and it’s all free and unlimited. You can even subscribe to the artist, if you want to see their new stuff pop up in your YouTube video feed. Meanwhile, on the right side of the page, you can see similar artists, to find more stuff to listen to and subscribe to.
For now, these videos contain whatever ads the artists or labels who own the copyright want to include, and YouTube splits the proceeds with them. Later this year, if you subscribe to the music service YouTube is launching, you’ll apparently be able to listen to it all without encountering any advertising at all.