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YouTube recently announced plans to not only launch a new music streaming service called YouTube Music, but also officially rebrand its current YouTube Red membership program as YouTube Premium. The popular video-sharing platform will unveil its enhanced streaming services on May 22, and is promising a more personalized streaming experience than ever before -- but is it enough to seriously compete with Spotify? We're taking a closer look at these new and improved memberships to help you decide if they're worth the money.
What Are the New YouTube Music Streaming Plans?
- An ad-supported version of YouTube Music for free
- An ad-free YouTube Music Premium membership for $9.99/month
- A new-and-improved version of YouTube Red, now called YouTube Premium, for $11.99/month
So what sets the memberships apart? With the free YouTube Music plan, you'll get a music-centric experience with "official songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist radio, plus YouTube’s tremendous catalog of remixes, live performances, covers and music videos… all simply organized and personalized.”
For $9.99 per month, you'll get an ad-free version called YouTube Music Premium that includes downloads for offline access, plus background listening so that your music won't turn off if you close or navigate away from the app.
YouTube Premium, on the other hand, goes beyond the $9.99 YouTube Music Premium membership and essentially replaces YouTube Red. This $11.99/month membership plan includes all the features of the paid YouTube Music Premium plan and lets you watch YouTube Originals video content (like "Cobra Kai" and "Youth & Consequences"). Google is also promising to expand its Originals programming with new series and movies. These will include dramas, comedies, reality shows and more from the UK, France, Mexico, Germany and other countries.
According to YouTube, its Premium membership is increasing from YouTube Red's $9.99 monthly fee to $11.99 per month because it will include the new YouTube Music Premium service. This price hike will only apply to new members who subscribe to YouTube Premium once it goes live on May 22.
What Does This Mean for Current Google Play Music and YouTube Red Subscribers?
Already a Google Play Music or YouTube Red subscriber? You're in luck! Google will grandfather you into its new YouTube Premium plan at your current membership rate of $9.99 per month. This upgrade won't increase the cost of any existing family plans, either.
If you're even remotely interested in YouTube Premium or Music Premium, we'd suggest signing up for YouTube Red or Google Play Music Unlimited (which gives you access to YouTube Red) before any of these new services launch in order to lock in a $9.99 monthly rate (for the foreseeable future) for all of these features.
Speaking of Google Play, you won't have to worry about anything changing with your account. According to YouTube, "you'll still be able to access all of your purchased music, uploads and playlists in Google Play Music just like always."
How Does YouTube Music Compare to Other Streaming Services?
Price-wise, YouTube Music Premium's $9.99/month rate is identical to Spotify, Tidal, Pandora Premium and Apple Music. That being said, only YouTube offers original programming for $2 more each month.
All of the new YouTube streaming plans will give members access to exclusive remixes, live performances and song covers that won't be available elsewhere. Additionally, YouTube will include an intuitive search method that lets you find songs based on lyrics or generic search terms like “that hipster song with whistling.”
YouTube will even cater to your listening history and "dynamically adapt" to your specific location. That means it will suggest things like workout playlists if you're at the gym.
On the fence? Spotify is currently doing it's best to lure away potential YouTube Music Premium subscribers by offering new members a three-month trial for only 99 cents -- and you can cancel immediately after enrolling.
What are your thoughts on these new YouTube streaming services? Will you consider trying out the paid ad-free versions? Sound off in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Google and YouTube.
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