Most people know what YouTube is. However, fewer people are familiar with YouTube Music. While YouTube is the leading video streaming platform globally, YouTube Music is less popular than Spotify, which has been around for nearly fourteen years. It makes sense, as dethroning a well-anchored provider is not an easy task, especially when it comes to music, which plenty of people listen to on a daily basis.
Despite being one of the newest players on the market, YouTube Music has a lot to offer and has improved since its early days; it’s also preinstalled on many new Android phones. It even comes with exclusive features that set it apart from the competition. Let’s take a closer look at Google’s music streaming service and whether it’s worth considering.
Google launched YouTube Music in 2014, together with YouTube Red (now YouTube Premium), with the idea to offer a combined video and audio streaming subscription. The service was initially targeted to offer offline video viewing, as well as the possibility to play YouTube videos in the background. In essence, it was geared at people who consumed music by playing videos on YouTube instead of using a traditional audio-centric service.
Things have evolved since then, especially because YouTube Music gradually became redundant with Google Play Music. YouTube Music evolved to include an actual music catalog, in addition to the millions of music videos available on YouTube. It eventually superseded Google Play Music and became Google’s flagship music streaming service in 2020.
Google priced YouTube Music in line with the market. A standard subscription costs $9.99 per month, and a family one is $14.99 for five people. There’s also an option to buy an annual subscription for $99.99 when paying upfront, helping you save about $20 a year. All plans include offline playback, ad-free music, and background listening. There’s also a free one that’s ad-supported, which is useful if you have a Nest speaker at home and don’t mind commercial interruptions.
YouTube Music is more interesting than the competition when bundled with YouTube Premium. All YouTube Premium subscriptions include YouTube Music, in addition to removing pre-roll and mid-roll ads, allowing you to download videos for offline playback and to play them in the background. These extra features, together with a YouTube Music subscription, cost $11.99 a month for an individual plan or $17.99 for a family plan that you can share with up to five people.
YouTube Music’s Competition
YouTube Music mostly makes sense compared to other services when it’s bundled with YouTube Premium. It’s still an excellent service when purchased separately, but you’ll have to gauge which experience works best for you. The best way to do that is to try various providers, especially since most offer a free trial for the first month.
If you don’t have time to look at Tidal, Deezer, and Apple Music, we put together a comparison of YouTube Music versus Spotify, helping you get a better picture of which solution works best for you.
How to use YouTube Music
If you’re convinced YouTube Music is the right service for you, give it a try for a month, and see if you love it. Here’s how to get started:
- Head to the YouTube Music Premium site and tap the blue Try it button to get started.
- Fill out your payment details to get started. You won’t be charged for the first month, and you can cancel your subscription before your trial’s over.
- Pick your favorite artists to get better recommendations.
- If you haven’t already, download the YouTube Music app on your phone.
Now that you’ve installed the app, it’s straightforward to use. The Home tab shows personalized recommendations based on what you listen to and your favorite artists. The Explore tab helps you discover new tunes based on charts and releases. Your Library is where you’ll find your playlists and saved songs. Also, there’s an option to cast songs to your speakers, either in the upper-right corner on most screens or on the album cover when playing content.
You can also access YouTube Music from your PC or Mac by navigating to the desktop site, and you can cast to your speakers from your web browser. The interface is similar to the one on your phone, making it easy to find your songs and playlists.
When listening to a song, you can use the thumbs-up and thumbs-down buttons to save songs you like and improve recommendations.
If you make YouTube Music your daily driver, check out our list of tips to help you get started and make the most of your subscription.
Is it the best option on the market?
Now that you know what YouTube Music is about, it’s worth giving it a try to see if it fits your needs. When bundled with YouTube Premium, it’s one of the best options price-wise. Also, it offers the unique ability to treat YouTube videos as regular tracks, which the competition doesn’t do.
Whichever service you subscribe to, it’s best to use it with a pair of great wireless buds to enjoy your favorite tunes with the best music quality.