Google just announced that it’s splitting YouTube Red, its add-free service that allows paying subscribers to play music on-demand and watch original shows, into two separate services. First, there will be YouTube Premium, which will cost $12/month and allow subscribers to watch ad-free videos and original content; it’s essentially a rebranding of the soon-to-be-gone YouTube Red. The other service is YouTube Music Premium, which will be a direct rival to other music services like Spotify and Apple Music. Here are five things you need to know about it.
One. YouTube Music Premium will cost subscribers $10/month and allow them to listen to ad-free music, download tracks/albums/playlists for offline listening, and listen to background music. The service will curate playlists for you and suggest new artists, similar to how Spotify and Apple Music help users discover new music. For non-paying subscribers, YouTube Music will allow them to create playlists and discover new music, but they’ll have to deal with ads and won’t have the premium and offline features.
Two. YouTube Music will have a brand new mobile and desktop that are specifically designed for listening to music. In the new app, premium and free subscribers will have access to all the music videos that many people go to YouTube for.
Three. This service will also eventually replace Google Play Music. For current Google Play Music subscribers, you’ll get a YouTube Music Premium membership as part of their current subscription, and, according to the company’s press release, “if you use Google Play Music, nothing will change — you’ll still be able to access all of your purchased music, uploads and playlists in Google Play Music just like always.”
Four. Google’s YouTube Music announcement doesn’t mention anything about podcasts, so at the moment it looks like the service won’t be able to access those.
Five. YouTube Music will start rolling out next week, on Tuesday, May 22.
The separation into individual audio and video subscription services is an interesting-yet-not-unexpected step for Google, who has owned YouTube since 2006. As Recode‘s Peter Kafka points out, it’s going to give the company more insight into how people are using the platform; if they care more about watching original shows, a la Netflix, or if more people are listening to music. If the former is true, this could the impetus for the company to commission more original content, like “Cobra Kai.”
YouTube Music is also potentially a threat to the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. Even though both have established and fast-growing audiences, you can’t discount the size of YouTube. It has over a billion monthly users. A billion. And in 2017, YouTube accounted for around 46-percent of all time spent listening to on-demand music, according to the Music Consumer Insight Report (Source: What Hifi!).
Either way, it’s an interesting devlopment and we can’t wait to try the service when it launches next week and see how it stacks up. For now, you can read more about YouTube Music in the company’s press release below.
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