YouTube Premium, Music: What you need to know

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YouTube Music can find a targeted and devoted audience in a space that's already over-crowded.

YouTube Music — the latest music streaming service to come to India.

Recently, Google dropped YouTube Music and YouTube Premium in India, and with it, users on our stretch of the land now get access to the planet’s greatest collection of videos and music at the tips of the finger.

Since its inception, YouTube has been the one-stop destination for all our music streaming needs. And this dates back to the time before audio streaming greats such as Spotify, JioSaavn and Apple Music even existed.

However, there were some notable drawbacks with the chief of them being the sheer number of ads that littered the user experience. While we are all for content creators and it being fair game for them to earn their livelihood, the fact that these ads were scattered all over the site actually put users off from enjoying an uninterrupted listening experience.

To solve this problem, Google launched an ad-free version of YouTube to satisfy our craving for their massive collection of audio; and in-step YouTube Music Premium; an app which quenches our thirst for everything that’s music on YouTube, be it original tracks, covers or remixes. YouTube Music Premium has got you covered.

The catch: It's paid.

YouTube Music:

YouTube Music features all the music related content that’s available on YouTube all rolled into one service that’s an amalgamation of Spotify-esque music from artists as well as user-created music that’s not available on any other streaming service. All the music that’s here is everything that’s exclusive to YouTube featuring countless audio and music videos created by artists and the user’s alike.

The fact that it’s a fully functioning music service means that it goes head-to-head against the likes of Amazon Music, JioSaavn, Spotify, Apple Music and more. Being a part of the world’s greatest search engine, we get a host of personalised recommended tracks that’s not just based on what’s fresh or trending but also on the activity that you’re currently doing, such as commuting, working out, mood, geographic location and more.

What sets YouTube Music apart from the rest is that it's backed by Google’s own search engine. So, you get a host of personally recommended songs, a smart search option wherein you get results based on your keywords used such as vague lyrics, songs from TV shows, etc. By using these random keyword searches you get the most accurate search results; something that’s not available on any other music streaming platform. For example, we searched “Songs from Elementary TV show” and we get the entire playlist of all the songs that were played on the shows.

With YouTube Music Premium, you also get the option to switch between an audio-only listening experience and a music video viewing experience — something that no other services currently offer. With YouTube essentially being a video streaming service first, the unpaid version of YouTube Music will only give you the option of viewing music videos without being able to listen to audio-only. Also, if you aren’t a paid subscriber you won’t be able to listen to music if you turn off your screen.

YouTube Premium:

Similar to Music, Premium is also a paid version of YouTube for videos. With YouTube basic, users can watch the plethora of content — from casual stupid videos to DIYs, Music, News, Trailers, Movies and a lot more — but with a sprinkle of ads that hinder your experience. Meaning — you may not be able to watch a full video without those pesky 10-second to 30-second adverts. These ads go towards the revenue for the service and those who create the videos and want to monetise on their work. So Google (YouTube) had started rolling ads in between videos in order to make money for both themselves and for the creators. Well — nothing is free today!

So if you want to watch your favourite videos or listen to your favourite band, you need to allow those ads in between. The experience could drive you nuts, especially when you play those lengthy single-track playlists only to find out that the music pauses in between to display a product on sale. The other way out — pay to get rid of those ads. Opt for YouTube Premium or YouTube Music and go ad-free. 

You can also download videos and store them on your phone for later use too. You can download videos from restricted channels, which don't allow you to download for monetary reasons, and watch them multiple times, even if you don't have an active internet connection. But hold your horses — you can only download videos up to 720p resolutions, even if you are streaming at 4K via the internet.

As for the Premium feature, you can now also play the audio-only from YouTube videos, even if you put your phone's screen off, which you cannot do if you are not using a paid service. So if you are listening to music, or simply need to hear out your favourite recipes and don't necessarily want to see the video (and waste precious bandwidth), go ahead with Premium and stream the audio-only from videos.

YouTube Music and Premium: The price

YouTube Music and YouTube Premium have just launched in India. And similar to most newly launched paid services, you get a trial period too — but on YouTube Music only, for now. The YouTube Music trial period is for three months for every user, new or old, a post which you will have to pay a monthly fee of Rs 129 per month to continue using it. If you wish to discontinue the service, then prior to the trial period expiring, you can easily go ahead and cancel the subscription and you won't get charged further.

So, if you want to try YouTube Music and experience it in all its glory without the hassle of any monetary obligations, then Google allows you to experience it for 90 days, no strings attached.

If you dislike ads on YouTube and want to experience it without any distractions, then you can opt to pay Rs 169 per month, which also includes a YouTube Music Premium subscription too. So, essentially, YouTube Premium costs Rs 40 over the Rs 129 you are charged for YouTube Music.

Apart from this, there are family plans available too. The YouTube Music Family plan will cost you just Rs 199 per month and the YouTube Premium Family plan costs Rs 249 per month. In the Family plan, you and five other members can access all the benefits of YouTube Music and YouTube Premium, depending on the plan you avail of.

The User Interface: Premium and Music

Once you open YouTube Music you are greeted by a page that allows you to choose between Basic and Music Premium. This page shows you what all you can avail of and the advantages YouTube Music has over the unpaid basic version of YouTube.

The similarities between YouTube Music and YouTube Music Premium include the ability to play songs without shuffling, access to official songs and albums, listen to remixes and more. In YouTube Music, you can listen to ad-free music, background playback and the ability to download music.

Yes, you can download your favourite music tracks on to your phone and listen to it whenever you need, even when you are offline. The amount of music you download will depend on your smartphone's available storage space. And no, you cannot share these downloads across multiple phones or with friends — it's restricted as usual. 

In both, the paid and basic versions, you can select the languages of the music of your choosing. Being an Indian-centric service, we are welcomed with 11 local Indian languages that include Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Kannada and more. The next step is to choose your favourite artists, which will help the app in determining the best songs for you to listen to.

YouTube Music is divided into three sections – Home, Hotlist and Library.

In the Home page, you are greeted with different subsections that offer a side-scrolling layout. The sections include but not limited to Your Favourites, New Releases, New Videos, Playlists and more. The more you use the section, the higher the subsection will be displayed on the screen. This makes using the service highly intuitive.

The next is Hotlist. In this section, there will be a host of music videos that are currently popular in your geographical region, such as Bollywood hits and more. Basically, it’s all the trending music that’s happening on the day.

The last section is the Library and in this page, you get your most recently played music, your downloaded music, your playlists, albums, liked songs and artists you have ever followed on YouTube.

Is YouTube Music for you?

As mentioned earlier, YouTube Music is an insane catalogue of songs ranging from official music to covers, remixes and everything in between. It is a great attempt from Google to unify and search all your favourite music in a single place without switching apps or having to keep the screen on. The price of this service is a bit more compared to others out there such as JioSaavn and Spotify (not too much actually) but it also contains virtually millions of tracks that aren’t seen on any other service.

Spending Rs 129 a month may seem like a lot and it is if compared to JioSaavn which charges you Rs 99 per month where you can get essentially a listening experience that’s pretty stellar.

If the price is no problem and you want an ad-free music experience from a litany of artists and creators, then YouTube Music should be experienced.

We would recommend opting for YouTube Premium and Music as a package since you will be able to experience the entire YouTube platforms (both music and videos) without the hindrance of those pesky adverts that ruin the moment.