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YouTube music service delayed until designers "get it right"

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YouTube’s much-rumoured music streaming subscription service has been delayed because bosses are not yet satisfied with its design, according to a new report.

It’s been more than a year since we first reported on rumours that YouTube was working on its own music service to rival Spotify, and there have been several updates since. Yet it seems as if it’s still not ready for release.

According to a new report from Billboard, which cites "an executive briefed on YouTube's plans," the video giant and its Google overlords are holding back the launch of the music service.

This despite the fact that the necessary licensing deals - often the biggest headache for a new streaming service - for a $5 or $10 per month service have been signed and sealed for a year now.

Unlike other Google services, YouTube does not wish to launch its new project until it is a finely polished and feature-complete product. It also needs more work in order to be clearly differentiated from its rivals (including, presumably, Google’s own Play Music).

"They feel that there's just too much scrutiny of this product, and that they need to get it right out of the gate," according to an unnamed senior label executive.

It’s thought that YouTube intended to launch its music subscription service by the end of 2013, but this inability to nail down a clear final product means that we could now be looking at a release some time in the second quarter or beyond.

Among the design issues YouTube is said to be tackling is what to show when a featured track isn’t accompanied by an official video. One idea is a simple provision of static album art, while another idea said to be under consideration is a dynamic art video made of stock footage.

Another, more fundamental issue is how to balance the new subscription service with YouTube’s existing free-for-all video service.

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