How YouTube's New Music Streaming Service Stands Up to the Competition

Jacob Kleinman 05/24/2018. 5 comments
Google YouTube Streaming Music YouTube Music YouTube Premium

Google is back with yet another music streaming service. This time the company is rebranding YouTube Red and splitting it into two new options named YouTube Music and YouTube Premium.

Here’s everything you need to new about YouTube’s new streaming apps, whether you’re wondering which version to pick, trying to compare them to the competition, or just want to know what happens to your old Google Play Music account.

What’s Different?

Of Google’s two new options, YouTube Premium is the more familiar one. It’s basically just a rebranded version of YouTube Red, offering music streaming and some original content. You also get special features like ad-free videos, offline video downloads, and the ability the play YouTube videos in the background on your phone. The only bad news here is that YouTube Premium is more expensive at $12 per month (up from $10 per month for YouTube Red).

Meanwhile, YouTube Music feels more like your typical streaming service. $10 gets you unlimited ad-free music streaming, and there’s a free ad-supported version too. Google is also trying to set itself apart with AI-powered search and discovery, but we won’t know if that really makes a difference until the new apps launch on May 22.

These changes only affect new customers, so if you’re already paying for one of Google’s current streaming services there’s nothing to worry about. And yes, that includes devoted Google Play Music customers who’ve been around from the beginning and are still locked in at the original $8 per month price.

Comparing the Competition

When it comes to price, YouTube Music is pretty standard at $10 per month, but Google hasn’t mentioned whether it will offer a discounted family plan as well — something Apple Music and Spotify both do. For an even better deal, check out Amazon Music unlimited, which costs just $8 per month if you’re already a Prime customer (and only $4 when it’s limited to a single Echo speaker).

As for YouTube Premium, you’re paying more but it may be worth the extra cash. Just getting ad-free YouTube videos alone is already huge. Combine that with YouTube’s original shows and movies, and it’s not a bad deal. If you’re a big YouTube fan (and you’re not already paying for YouTube Red) this is the option for you.

Of course, Google isn’t the only company trying to win us over with exclusives. Apple Music subscribers often get early access to new albums and music videos. The company is also developing a bunch of original programming (including a spinoff version of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke), which will probably debut in Apple Music app too.

Finally, if your top priority is finding new music, Spotify is still the way to go. The company uses special algorithms to come up with spot-on music recommendations, including those awesome Discovery Weekly playlists. By comparison, Apple’s music recommendations aren’t particularly great, though there is a trick for improving them.

As for YouTube Music/Premium, Google claims you’ll get solid music suggestions thanks to the company’s AI advantage, but until we can actually try that on out for ourselves, you probably shouldn’t delete your Spotify account.

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