YouTube Music, a new service that will take on the likes of Spotify and Apple, goes live next week.
Listeners will be able to enjoy the service for free if they don’t mind their music interspersed with advertisements. An upgrade to YouTube Music Premium, priced at $9.99 a month, will remove those ads and allow for background playback and music downloads.
Google has taken several stabs at becoming a major player in music streaming with services like Google Play Music and YouTube Red. It hopes YouTube Music, a simpler and more personal experience that will replace both of its predecessors, will be a greater success.
YouTube Music starts streaming on May 22
YouTube Music will be available in three tiers, catering to those who like their music to be free, those who are happy to pay to avoid ads, and those who like to watch as well as listen. Here’s what you can expect from each option — and how much you’ll pay:
- YouTube Music — Free — ad-supported music, like Spotify’s free tier
- YouTube Music Premium — $9.99 a month — ad-free, allows background playback and music downloads for offline listening
- YouTube Premium — $11.99 a month — a rebranded YouTube Red; offers everything included in YouTube Music Premium, as well as ad-free videos, the ability to play videos in the background, video downloads, and access to all YouTube Originals
YouTube Music launches May 22 in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea. It will rollout to an additional 14 countries later.
YouTube Music replaces Google Play Music and YouTube Red
Google Play Music will be slowly phased out following the launch of YouTube Music. Existing subscribers, who are already paying $9.99 a month, will be transfered to a YouTube Music Premium subscription automatically.
YouTube Red is also being replaced. Existing subscribers will be transfered to a YouTube Premium subscription, but they will continue to pay $9.99 a month as opposed to the $11.99 a month that will be charged to new subscribers.
A personal streaming experience
YouTube Music’s big selling point is that it uses all the things Google already knows about you to offer a more personal music streaming experience. Subscribers will see recommendations based on their listening patterns, their location, and even the time of day.
This will be a big drawer for existing Google users who are already tied into the company’s ecosystem. However, its data-driven approach, like other Google services, might concern those who don’t like giving up their data.