Google has confirmed it’s relaunching its premium YouTube services. YouTube Red will split into free music, paid music and paid music & video options.
The Red name is being dropped altogether, which makes sense given it doesn’t describe either the concept or the content. Instead there’ll be a revamped YouTube Music service available through dedicated mobile and desktop apps. The idea seems to be to have a custom-designed app that works well for audio as well as video, rather than continue trying to workaround the main YouTube interface.
The new service is clearly now a direct rival to the likes of Spotify. Rather than compete solely on the sheer volume of content, Google says the main advantages of YouTube Music are a better selection of remixes, live versions and covers to go alongside original versions of songs, plus a more intelligent search tool that can find songs by lyrics or even a vague description.
The basic version of the app is free to use but includes ads. Paying $9.99 a month removes the ads, lets you run the app in the background (so you can use other apps while still listening) and allows downloads for offline listening. The $9.99 fee is waived for anyone who already pays for Google Play Music.
(At the moment there’s no signs of merging the two services, the latter of which has the advantage of letting you upload your own music collection. It’s possible Google doesn’t want to add that feature to YouTube Music because it’s based around 100% legally licensed content.)
Meanwhile what was YouTube Red will now be called YouTube Premium. It costs $11.99 a month and includes everything from YouTube Music, removes ads from the main YouTube video service, and includes YouTube’s original video series. (For those companies where YouTube Red is already available, you can sign up now at $9.99 and that price will be grandfathered in when YouTube Premium launches.)
Both Music and Premium will start next week in countries that already have Red. They’ll then launch in the coming weeks in:
- United Kingdom