Google figured that since a lot of people are already using YouTube to listen to their favorite songs and not just watch music videos, why not just launch a music streaming app based on the video sharing service? Well yes, you had Google Play Music, but apparently, that’s a whole other thing (which we’ll get into later). So now here we are, with YouTube Music officially rolling out to five markets today and hoping to turn a profit for its parent company and to compete with the music streaming big boys like Spotify, Pandora, and yes, even Google Play Music itself (for now).
If you don’t want to pay for your music streaming, there is actually a free version of YouTube Music, which you can now access if you live in the US, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. The catch, of course, is that you’ll be constantly interrupted by ads because nothing in this world is truly free. But if you want to get rid of those oftentimes annoying adverts, then you will have to cough up the $9.99 per month subscription fee, which is the standard among its competitors. Whichever of the two tiers you choose, you get access to the millions of songs and videos in their library, including official albums, singles, remixes, live performances, covers, and “hard-to-find music” which they say you can exclusively get on YouTube. Paid members will be able to download and listen to the music offline and of course, ad-free. In fact, your Offline Mixtape will automatically download songs that you love in case you forget to do so.
What makes YouTube Music standout, or at least a bit different from the others in the market, is that they’re using Google’s search and algorithm prowess. Even if you can’t remember the title of the song, if you know a bit of the lyrics (even if apparently they’re wrong aka Starbucks lover) or if you can recall a part of the song (the new song with the flute), then you’ll be able to search for it there and maybe even find it as Google promised. You’ll also get a dynamic recommendation system, depending on your location, what you’re currently doing, and what you’ve previously listened to. If it detects you’re in the airport, you’ll get a playlist about leaving (country, if that’s your jam) or if you check in at the gym, then you’ll get your rock power workout playlist. This is, of course, depending on the permissions that you give the app and your privacy settings as well.
We are assuming that eventually, Google Play Music will be discontinued or at the very least, integrated into YouTube Music. Users of the former are concerned though about what it means to the hundreds, maybe thousands of songs that they’ve uploaded there. Using the service as a storage locker for their audio files is one of the major draws of Google Play Music. Google assures users that nothing is happening to current subscribers. In fact, you’ll also get YouTube Music and YouTube Premium (which replaces YouTube Red) if you’re already paying the $7.99 or $9.99 per month (depending on when you signed up) for Google Play Music. The writing on the wall though is that eventually, all your collection, playlists, and preferences will be “preserved at (sic) migrated” to YouTube Music “for a soft landing”, according to T. Jay Fowler, head of music at YouTube.
Now as to whether people would subscribe to YouTube Music, that is another question. If the very slow growth of YouTube Red is a sign, then maybe it’s not a great portent for Google. And seeing also how other services like Spotify is struggling to convert free users to paying users, they will either have to really spend a lot in marketing this new service or eventually adjust pricing models or maybe annoy users enough with those ads that they’ll just sign up just to get rid of them. But of course, it’s still early days (well, day, actually) so we won’t see a trend just yet. The initial five markets is probably a test run for them before they expand to Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. If you don’t live in any of those countries, you’ll have to wait a little longer or just go back to listening to music on YouTube.
Confused about all these new products? We tried to break it down for you here.
VIA: XDA Developers