Google is trying to make YouTube much more competitive by breaking up the current its YouTube Red service. The newly announced YouTube Music and YouTube Premium will take its place, focusing on music and original video content respectively. The move makes sense for a number of reasons, although questions still remain.
What are YouTube Music and YouTube Premium?
YouTube Music is Google’s latest attempt to capitalize on the streaming music front. Google sees it as a more personalized way to search for music. The company wants to make the service a one-stop shop for all your music needs, including live performances, covers, and remixes, many of which can’t be found on other services.
The service will include playlists, artist radios, and music videos. Google will also focus on personalization by implementing a dynamic home screen which will adapt to a user’s location or search history to recommend different songs. Are you at the gym? Here’s some pump-up music (I’ll only consider this feature truly helpful it if correctly suggests Work B*tch by Britney Spears). Additionally, Google is also taking advantage of its search capabilities, allowing users to search for songs even if they don’t know the title. You could search by typing in lyrics, or just by looking for “that hipster song with the whistling.”
There’s not much to say about YouTube Premium. It’s basically a revamped YouTube Red, with amenities such as ad-free videos, background play, and video downloads. Google also promises “bigger original series and movies.”
When will the services be available and for how much?
YouTube Music will launch May 22 as a mobile and desktop player. It will have two flavors, YouTube Music and Music Premium. There’s no exact date for YouTube Premium, although Google said it’ll roll out soon to existing markets. It’s also planning expansions to other countries like Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.
Music Premium will cost $9.99 a month and Youtube Premium will cost $11.99 a month, although users can also opt for the regular ad-supported YouTube Music service. Users already subscribed to Red will be able to lock in their current $9.99 subscription price when they make the transition over to Premium. Users not already on Red can subscribe now to secure the price as well.
Why is Google doing this?
The move allows Google to better compete with services like Spotify and Apple Music. YouTube is already a popular place for music, so having a dedicated app and service tied to the name should add a level of familiarity. Since pricing falls in line with what others already offer, this could be a hit, especially considering Google’s search capabilities.
On the Premium front, it reinforces Google’s focus on producing original content. With Apple gearing up to make some serious moves with original video content, it makes sense that Google would want to focus on their own efforts more — especially with Netflix, Hulu, and even Amazon casting shadows on both companies.
What about Google Play Music?
While YouTube Music sounds great and all, there seems to be a bit of uncertainty about the future of Google Play Music. There’s no indication yet that the service is being discontinued, and Google indicated that users who are currently subscribed will get YouTube Music Premium as part of their subscription, while retaining all of their downloads and playlists. The services don’t necessarily compete, but there’s a lot of overlap. It would make sense for Google to migrate users to the new service and fade Play Music out of existence if sticking primarily to the Youtube brand is what the company really wants to do.
If you want to know when YouTube Music will be available in your country, Google has a page where you can sign up for updates.