6 things you need to know about YouTube Music

UPDATED: YouTube Music has launched in India - can it take on the likes of Spotify, Apple Music et al?

It's finally here, it's finally here!

Youtube Red, which never launched in India, until now, but its principles will live on in a pair of replacements: YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium.

Not only will these offer the advantages of YouTube Red (mainly ad-free videos), they’re also designed to take on the likes of Apple Music, Spotify and JioSaavn by acting as full-blooded, all-you-can-eat music streaming packages.

Confused? There’s no need to be – read our explainer and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the newest streaming services on the block.

1) YouTube Music is about video too

As you’d expect from the world’s biggest video site, YouTube Music has more of a focus on music video than its competitors – but at the same time, it’s also designed to function as a pure audio service when the user desires.

That means you can choose from songs, albums, playlists and artist radio stations as with other services, but also access YouTube’s catalogue of remixes, live performances, cover versions and music videos.

There are new mobile and desktop apps coming too, designed specifically with music playback in mind.

2) It could be the ultimate personal DJ

Putting new music in your ears, specifically new music that you’ll like, seems a primary concern for YouTube Music’s designers.

Not only are there thousands of themed playlists, but the app’s personalised home screen will automatically serve up recommendations based on various factors: not just what you’ve previously listened to, but your current location or activity.

It gives the example of you being at the gym and being recommended some listening material to increase your heart-rate.

Being part of the world's biggest search engine helps with discovery too - you'll be able to search by lyrics or song description if you're not sure of your earworm's official title.

3) It’s coming in ad-supported and Premium versions

Much like Spotify, YouTube Music is available free of charge for anyone willing to put up with ads and a reduced feature set.

Still, those who subscribe to YouTube Music Premium will get ad-free listening, downloads for offline playback, and background listening (which means you won’t need to have the app open to listen, as you do at the moment).

4) There are two price tiers

For US$9.99 a month (Indian pricing is yet to be announced) you get the full range of YouTube Music Premium features – but avid YouTube users may want to opt for the full YouTube Premium package at US$11.99 a month.

This features both Music Premium and the advantages currently offered by YouTube Red, namely access to YouTube Originals content like Cobra Kai, video downloads for offline viewing, and an entirely ad-free YouTube experience.

5) It’s free for Google Play Music subscribers

Already a Google Play Music account holder and wondering where this leaves you? The answer is: with a lot more functionality to play with at no extra cost!

That’s right, existing Play Music subscribers will get access to YouTube Music Premium for free. Though we wouldn't be surprised if the two are combined at some point in the near future

7) It's available.. now

YouTube Red may have never made it to India, but YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium have now officially launched on these shores. It's also coming to a whole host of other countries that never got Red: Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Is it good enough to tear us from Spotify? The jury is still out on that for now. The good news is that we can get a three-month trial for free here, and download the app for Android and iOS and subscribe for ₹99/month. Splash another ₹30 and treat yourself to YouTube Premium for original content and special shows.