With the rise of streaming came the death of iTunes, CDs and any other form of digital download. The launch of Spotify made monthly payments and streaming music the mainstream for the industry. People are not interested in buying CD’s or paying £9.99 for an album on iTunes.
YouTube has always been at the centre for streaming content online, whether it be video or music. The use of YouTube was legitimised back in 2006 when Google bought the site. Since then the content posted on YouTube features some of the most watch videos to ever exist. YouTube Music is Google’s approach to streaming and competing with apps such as Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and Amazon Prime Music.
YouTube Music offers features that Spotify and Apple Music do not. With the vast library that is already available on YouTube, plus official albums, singles and videos, the user will receive a whole new experience. Users have access to search any live performance, any artist that may just work solely from YouTube and smarter searches to give results its competitors cannot. It is a shame this service did not come sooner because many may find it difficult to start their entire music library again.
YouTube music is available across the board on iOS, Android and desktop. The App itself is clean and easy to use and navigate. After logging in with my regular Google account it recognised my history on YouTube and had already tailored playlists for me. It also suggested videos I might like. Google’s AI is clearly hard at work with this service. This is something that my usual streaming service, Apple Music, took a while to do. Although comments on AI and Apple are better left unsaid. The App is separated into 3 sections, Home, Hotlist and Library. Home features different moods, similarly to Spotify, and then my recommended videos and my personalised ‘Mixtape’. The Hotlist tab shows new and trending videos like the regular YouTube app would. Overall, the app works extremely well.
The Now Playing part of the app is sleek and simple to use. There is an info button that displays artist, album, year, likes and views. There is also a share button which also displays options such as like, play next and add to playlist etc. Next to the rewind and fast forward there are options to like or dislike the song which enables Googles AI to learn your presences better. Now Playing on YouTube Music is a lot easier to use than it is on Spotify with the lyric displays and the awkward swiping.
The only complex part of YouTube Music seems to be its pricing. There are a couple of subscription options. There is a free version which features ads. Then a £12.99 ad-free version and then a £15.99 subscription that gives users access to YouTube Premium (formally YouTube Red) and Music Premium. Pricing will be YouTube’s downfall against their competitors. Apple Music is £9.99 a month and integrates perfectly with the Apple ecosystem. Spotify constantly has cheap deals for students and is also £9.99 a month.
The pricing difference may be overlooked due to the features that YouTube Music offers. It seems like a strong competitor in the industry of streaming. Google has the technology and the chance to make YouTube Music something different and better than services such as Apple Music and Spotify. The release of this service is long overdue and I am excited to see what Google do in regards to integration with Google Home.