Google is breaking up YouTube Red, a service previously available for $9.99 a month that allowed users to watch videos on the platform without having to endure ads. The service also gave users access to Google Play Music, the company’s answer to Spotify, and access to YouTube Red original shows, their bid to compete with Netflix. The company, apparently unaware that the concept was already complicated, has introduced new tiers to further confuse consumers.
YouTube Music is Google’s most significant Spotify competitor yet, launching with “a reimagined mobile app” and desktop interface. Google insists that YouTube Music has an advantage over other streaming services because of its extensive existing library of music videos and live concert coverage. Google is also lending its AI talent to the service, promising to let fans search for songs with natural language; YouTube suggests that we try searching for “that hipster song with the whistling.” The premium version of YouTube Music will be available for $9.99 a month, the same price as competitors like Spotify and Apple Music. For this money, consumers receive background listening, the ability to download music for offline listening, and no ads. Customers can also opt into the free version, which only allows music to be played if the app is open on the phone screen.
In addition to YouTube Music, Google is launching YouTube Premium. This replaces the section of the previous YouTube Red service that gave users access to exclusive YouTube original TV shows and movies, similar to Netflix. YouTube Premium allows for downloading any YouTube video for offline viewing, access to YouTube Originals, and background play. However, the premium service includes YouTube Music, and is $11.99 a month.
YouTube Music is rolling out starting next Tuesday in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea. More countries will be added over the next few weeks.
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