Google is taking a hatchet to its YouTube Red service and carving it into two new services. One will be called YouTube Music, which as it sounds is a music streaming service, and the other will be called YouTube Premium. It’s all a little confusing, especially since Google already maintains a subscription music streaming service called Google Play Music, so we’re here to offer some clarity on what’s happening.
In a nutshell, Google is attempting to compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music in the music streaming space. Part of what’s confusing is that YouTube Music already exists in select markets, including the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea. It’s available as an ad-supported app, or as part of YouTube Red, which costs $10 per month and strips out the ads. YouTube Red also adds a bunch of other features like offline access.
With the new YouTube Music service, Google is expanding availability to more markets, and offering it as a standalone service (rather than rolled into YouTube Red, which is on the chopping block). It will contain thousands of playlists and the official versions of millions of songs, albums, artist radio, and more, plus all of the music videos already being served up by YouTube.
There will be two versions of YouTube Music as well—an ad-supported free version, and an ad-free Premium tier (YouTube Music Premium) that costs $9.99 per month. What about existing Google Play Music subscribers? They will get a subscription to YouTube Music Premium at no extra cost.
“If you use Google Play Music, nothing will change–you’ll still be able to access all of your purchased music, uploads and playlists in Google Play Music just like always,” Google says.
Eventually we imagine Google will roll integrate transition Google Play Music to YouTube Premium rather than maintain two separate music streaming services, but for now they will operate independently.
So that’s YouTube Music/YouTube Music Premium. The other replacement to YouTube Red is YouTube Premium, which gives users access to a full slate of YouTube original video programming such as the Karate Kid-inspired series Cobra Kai. It also includes YouTube Music Premium into the mix, and costs $11.99 per month. So basically it’s YouTube Music Premium + ad-free videos (and a few other perks) for an extra couple of bucks each month.
Existing YouTube Red members will be grandfathered in to YouTube Premium at their current price. If you live in the US and plan to subscribe to YouTube Premium, your best bet is to sign up with YouTube Red right now for $9.99 per month so you can pay the grandfathered rate later on.
Both services (YouTube Music and YouTube Premium) will be rolling out soon. Questions? Hit the source link and/or fire away in the comments section below!