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What is YouTube Music? Google’s music service explained
This page was translated using AI and machine learning.
(Pocket-lint) – Only having been announced in 2018, YouTube Music is a relatively new music streaming service, but it has come to replace Google Play Music, Google’s old music streaming service. With YouTube Music, you can listen to official songs, albums, playlists, artist radios, remixes and live versions of songs, as well as watch music videos.
This is a free service if you don’t mind listening to commercials every few songs, available through a mobile app or web player. A YouTube Music Premium tier is also available to remove ads, give you background listening on your mobile device (so you can exit the app and continue listening), and let you download songs for offline playback. line.
What you can’t do with YouTube Music is watch non-music videos, such as cats playing the piano or Charlie getting his finger bitten, on the rest of the YouTube site, but there’s plenty of access to videos. music through the app. .
How does YouTube Music work?
Like other music streaming services, YouTube pays a lot of attention to its discovery features. He says music is “easier to explore” with the Music service and has a huge catalog of not only official songs, but also remixes, live performances, covers and music videos to add.
The home screen, whether you’re using the app or the web player, is constantly changing. It updates to provide recommendations based on your listening habits, but it’s also location-aware and can suggest music choices that match what you might be doing.
It is based on three tabs, Home, Explore and Library. House is a mix of everything, Explore makes it easy to find new music, like new releases, as well as dive into moods or genres. The Library tab offers playlists as well as any imported music you’ve imported from Google Play Music and any music you have on your mobile device. Whether you use the web version or the mobile app, the music you imported from Google Play is available in both.
Videos are also very important in the app as well as in the browser, and when you select a song in the app you will often be able to choose whether you want to listen to the song or watch the video. You can also toggle halfway, which is a nice feature. When you use YouTube Music in a browser, it’s obviously a video experience like the rest of YouTube.
You can also like or dislike the music and this will help Google sort out the selection of music recommended to you, so if you don’t like Ed Sheeran you can give him the thumbs down and you’ll see less Ed Sheeran.
Do I need to sign in to use YouTube Music?
No, you don’t. At least not if you’re happy to use the web version. If you head to music.youtube.com, you can listen to the ad-supported version of the service. If you log into the web version, you will have access to all the music you have saved in playlists, and your own favorite artists in the “home screen”, as well as access to the music you transferred from Play Music in your browser as well. .
If you want to use any of the streaming services through the smartphone app, you will need to sign in to your Google account. The app doesn’t even display any streaming content without logging in. But once you do, you will be able to access the free service with no subscription needed. This will allow you to listen to the tracks and watch the videos, with occasional advertisements. If you don’t have a subscription, you won’t be able to have background playback either, that is, as soon as you turn off the screen, the music will stop.
However, there is a workaround.
How to Play YouTube Music in the Background Without a Subscription
There is a small loophole that will allow you to play the free version of YouTube Music on your device without a subscription. It’s essentially the same process needed to play YouTube in the background, which we’ve detailed for the iPhone here.
- Go to music.youtube.com in your device’s browser.
- Open Settings and select Desktop Mode.
- Press play on the music you want to listen to.
- Turn off the screen.
- If the music stops, wake up to Android sleep screen, find media controls and play it. On iPhone, swipe to control center and tap play.
- The music should then start playing again.
To be fair, it’s a bit of a long workaround and Android phones handle music slightly differently, so it may not work on all models, or you may need to find or enable the playback controls on your lock screen.
What happened to Google Play Music?
Google began shutting down Play Music in September 2020, removing the old service and suggesting users move to YouTube Music instead. This sees the end of music purchases from Google, moving to a streaming offering instead. Google originally provided a method to move your previous Play Music purchases to YouTube Music, but now Google Play Music has shut down completely, so you can’t do that anymore.
How much does YouTube Music cost?
YouTube Music is available as a free, ad-supported tier, much like Spotify. But there’s a catch to the mobile app, as you can’t use it to play music in the background (though, see above). For most people, the subscription will provide the best experience.
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You can lose the ads and get offline listening with a YouTube Premium subscription, but there’s a bit of a convoluted tier system here. You can only subscribe to YouTube Music Premium or YouTube Premium. The latter costs more, but also means you can watch any video on YouTube ad-free, and you can keep any YouTube video sounding in the background.
YouTube Music Premium:
- Student: $4.99/£4.99
- Standard: $9.99/£9.99
- Family: $14.99/$14.99
- Student: $6.99/£6.99
- Standard: $11.99/£11.99
- Family: $17.99/£17.99
If you’re a new user, there are plenty of trial options – you can get months free or there’s also a two-week risk-free trial. Just keep clicking and these trials will be offered to you.
What does the YouTube Music app look like?
The YouTube Music app is remarkably simple in its layout and ease of use. Its home screen is tailored to your personal artist choices – which you select on your first visit – and is clearly laid out so you can instantly find recommended playlists and videos.
The main unique feature is that because its tracks are pulled from the full range of content available on YouTube, there are thousands of performances that you can’t get anywhere else. And they’re all available to watch on video, too.
There are controls in the app to adjust the quality of the stream, through low, normal, high and always high and these values can be selected for mobile and Wi-Fi streaming. You can also choose to play quality videos lower on mobile and HD only on Wi-Fi.
There is a Restricted mode to reduce explicitly flagged songs, although this is not protected, so the user can always disable it – and it depends on the artist who flagged the content as explicit.
You can also download music for offline listening, either individual tracks or whole playlists or albums. This means you can listen without streaming, whether saving data or when traveling – and there’s an option to limit streaming to Wi-Fi only.
Written by Max Langridge. Edited by Cam Bunton.