YouTube has announced that it is launching a new music streaming service that will offer both video and audio streaming services. The launch comes as it looks to compete head on with other firms in streaming such as Spotify and Apple Music.

Dubbed YouTube Music, it will have thousands of playlists consisting of official versions of songs, albums, artist radio and much more, the company said in a blog post this week. In addition, the new service will offer the platform’s remixes, live performances, covers and music videos all in one place- making it easier for music lovers to navigate through to find the best.

While the basic version of YouTube Music will be ad-supported and free for users, there will also be a YouTube Premium- a version that will charge users $9.99 per month for an ad-free music streaming service. YouTube Premium will replace YouTube Red,  a paid streaming subscription service that was offered by the company earlier.

YouTube said that subscribers of both Google Play Music and YouTube Red will automatically have access to YouTube Premium. The company also clarified that all users will continue to have access to Google Play Music and will be able to use their purchased music and downloads even if they have YouTube Music.

The new music streaming service is set to be launched in the U.S, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and Mexico on May 22, 2018. The Google-owned company said that it will launch the YouTube Music in Europe too. However, there was no mention on whether this service will be available within the Middle East.

Within its blogpost, YouTube had asked users to express interest in whether they wanted YouTube Music in their respective country. Currently Middle East’s music streaming industry is dominated by the homegrown music streaming service Anghami while Apple Music has a limited presence in the region. The word is out that Swedish streaming giant Spotify has plans to launch in Dubai but there has been no official confirmation.

Music streaming has evolved to be a money churner for an industry that has faced issues in monetizing music after CD sales sagged.

According to a study by IFPI, streaming generated around $7.1 billion in 2017, outpacing the sales of CDs and vinyl. Nearly 176 million users subscribed to a streaming service last year, up from 112 million in 2016- providing a huge boost to the music industry.