A reimagined mobile app and brand new desktop player that are designed for music.
YouTube Music has thousands of playlists, the official versions of millions of songs, albums, artist radio and more, in addition to all the music videos people expect from YouTube.
YouTube Music is a music streaming service developed by YouTube, a subsidiary of Google. It provides a tailored interface for the service, oriented towards music streaming, allowing users to browse through songs and music videos on YouTube based on genres, playlists, and recommendations.
The service also offers a premium tier, which enables ad-free playback, audio-only background playback, and downloading songs for offline playback. These subscription benefits are also offered to subscribers of YouTube Premium. The service superseded Google Play Music as Google's main brand for music streaming on December 1, 2020.
The YouTube Music app was unveiled in October 2015 and released the following month; its release came alongside the unveiling of YouTube Premium (originally called YouTube Red), a larger subscription service that covers the entirety of the YouTube platform, including the Music app. Although redundant to Google's existing Google Play Music All Access subscription service, the app is designed for users who primarily consume music through YouTube.
On May 17, 2018, YouTube announced a new version of the YouTube Music service, including a web-based desktop player and redesigned mobile app, more dynamic recommendations based on various factors, and the use of Google artificial intelligence technology to search songs based on lyrics and descriptions. In addition, YouTube Music became a separate subscription service (positioned as a more direct competitor to Apple Music and Spotify), offering ad-free and background/audio-only streaming, and downloading for offline playback, for music content on YouTube. The service's benefits will continue to be available as part of the existing YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red) service and to Google Play Music All Access subscribers. The YouTube Music subscription is priced in line with its competitors at US$9.99 per-month; the price of YouTube Premium was concurrently increased to $11.99 for new subscribers.
In September 2019, YouTube Music replaced Google Play Music in the core Google Mobile Services bundle distributed on new Android devices. In May 2020, an update was released to allow imports from Google Play Music, including purchased music, playlists, cloud libraries, and recommendations. The service still contains regressions over Google Play Music, including no online music store functionality (cannot purchase songs), and a YouTube Music Premium subscription being required in order to cast cloud library speakers to Google Nest smart speakers. Google stated that they planned to address this and other "gaps" in features between the services before Play Music is shut down. However, at the time of the shutdown, most feature gaps had not been addressed.
In February 2023, YouTube Music launched Radio Builder, a free and from anywhere accessible web service for both paying subscribers and free users with iOS or Android devices. It allows users to create a custom radio station, selecting up to 30 artists with an option to hear only their songs or from comparable musicians. Google podcast executives Chuk and Steve McClendon also announced that podcasts would be added to the service in the near future.
The free tier plays songs in its music video version where applicable. The premium tier plays official tracks of the album unless the user searches for the music video version. YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium subscribers are able to switch to an audio-only mode that can play in the background while the application is not in use. The free tier does not allow audio-only mode with background playback as it displays video advertisements.
YouTube is one of the most-viewed websites on the planet, and by far the most popular video platform today, so it's no surprise that millions upon millions of users turn to it every day for music. It's the default platform for viral music videos and hosts just about any song, remix, mashup, or fan cover you could ever want. Whether you're looking for lyrics to a song before karaoke night, music to sleep to, or a new remix to play at your next party, YouTube has what you're looking for.
A half-hearted experiment when it debuted in 2015, YouTube Music remained an utter mess when it relaunched in 2018, riddled with bugs and missing key features. Since then, Google has continued to update and refine the service, finally making it worth using in recent years. So it's no surprise that YouTube Music is the fastest-growing music streaming app today, even if its 50 million subscribers still sit behind Spotify and Apple Music.
While it has an ad-supported free tier, YouTube Music Premium lets you download for offline listening or play music with the screen off, making it the best option. It's one of the best music streaming services in 2022, but does its unique interface, unparalleled content library, and improved algorithms and playlists justify subscribing to it instead of its competitors? We'll help you decide.