YouTube is going through some big changes, most likely industry-defining changes, in fact, as it finally plunges into dedicated music-streaming territory. Google Play Music may soon be no more due to the overhauled YouTube Music app, while the somewhat mis-titled YouTube Red will be turning into YouTube Premium.
We’re here to tell you what all these crazy new buzzwords actually mean.
YouTube Music/Music Premium = Google’s Spotify
A YouTube Music app has existed for a couple of years now, but it’s fair to say that Google hasn’t been pushing it or developing it at full throttle. Not until now, that is.
The updated version of YouTube Music is Google’s long-awaited answer to Spotify: a dedicated music-streaming service that will be accessible through your browser and as an app, utilizing all the scary tech and AI power at Google’s disposal to deliver the ultimate musical experience.
An ad-supported version of YouTube Music will be free, and if you want to get rid of ads, the “Premium” version will cost you $9.99 a month.
If you’re already a YouTube Red subscriber, then you’ll get the ad-free benefits of YouTube Music automatically.
YouTube Premium = YouTube Red (And Then Some)
Until now YouTube Red has been YouTube’s paid on-demand video arm, granting subscribers access to the YouTube Originals video library for $9.99 a month. YouTube Premium is an evolution on that concept, and for $11.99 you get access not only to all the content from the outgoing YouTube Red, but also to everything offered by YouTube Music.
Once again, current YouTube Red subscribers are the big winners here, because (for now, at least) they will get upgraded to YouTube Premium while staying with their $9.99 subscription; so essentially, current YouTube Red subscribers get Google’s Spotify-like service as well as all the exclusive YouTube video stuff they currently have access to.
How Does YouTube Music Affect Google Play Music Subscribers?
As YouTube is a Google enterprise these days, this will inevitably have an effect on Google Play Music. YouTube has already made it clear that over the long haul, YouTube Music will replace Google Play Music.
In the meantime, Google Play Music subscribers will also get access to YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium, which is a pretty clear hint from Google that the plan is to steadily migrate people over from Google Play Music. For now, however, Play Music will remain, and current subscribers will get to keep using that service as well as the new YouTube Music Premium service.
What Differentiates YouTube Music from Spotify?
The big question for the millions of Spotify subscribers is “Why should I care?” What does YouTube Music offer that would potentially compel Spotify users to give it a go?
For now, all we have is conjecture of course, but we do know that Google’s big strides in its Assistant AI will be integrated here. You’ll be able to search for songs by reciting lyrics, for example, or by describing how the song sounds (YouTube gave ‘that hipster song with the whistling’ as an example, referring to Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John).
YouTube Music will be able to use your location to recommend fitting music – music for the gym or music to calm your nerves before a flight, for instance. We’d need to see all this in action, of course, but on the face of it Google has a big advantage in raw tech power over Spotify, which it’s sure to utilize in numerous ways, with those mentioned above just being the tip of the iceberg.
Until now it’s been almost impossible to imagine a true head-to-head competitor to Spotify, which has been the undisputed champion of music streaming all this time. All the signs suggest that Google has finally leveraged the incredible resources at its disposal and will be offering something that will spice up the music-streaming arena very nicely indeed.
Better than Spotify though? We’ll definitely give you the verdict as soon as we lay our hands on it.
The initial release date is May 22, which will cover the US, UK, New Zealand, South Korea and several other countries. To stay tuned on when YouTube Music arrives in your country, you can opt in on the official website.