YouTube is already one of the best resources for finding music, whether you’re looking for official music videos, live performances, or full albums that somebody’s uploaded with or without the publisher’s permission. But a few years ago Google decided to make it a bit easier to use YouTube as a music app, by launching YouTube Music. And if you paid for a YouTube Red subscription you also got ad-free listening and support for playing music in the background on Android devices.
The new YouTube Music goes live on May 22nd with new mobile apps and an updated web interface, and it’ll be available for free if you want to put up with ads, or in an ad-free version for folks willing to pay $10 per month for YouTube Music Premium.
Existing Google Play Music subscribers get YouTube Music Premium for no additional charge. And current YouTube Red subscribers do too, for no additional charge.
That said, if you’re not already paying $10 per month for YouTube Red or Google Play Music, you now have two choices for new subscriptions:
- $10 for YouTube Music Premium
- $12 for YouTube Premium
YouTube Premium is basically the new name for YouTube Red, which includes ad-free access to everything on YouTube including YouTube Music including background listening and access to YouTube Original programming.
Google says the $2 price increase covers the cost of both YouTube Red and YouTube Music Premium… but that’s sort of a weird thing to say since YouTube Red/Premium already lets you watch/listen to as much ad-free music as you want. Basically Google is charging a premium for access to a new and improved user experience with an emphasis on playlists, artist radio stations, official song versions, remixes, and music videos.
Word on the street is that eventually Google will phase out Google Play Music as a standalone service altogether, in order to focus on YouTube Music. On the one hand, it makes sense for Google to have a unified brand for its music streaming service. On the other hand, it seems odd for that brand to be associated with a video streaming service rather than one that was designed first and foremost for streaming audio.
Anyway, given Google’s track record in this space, the most baffling thing about the new service might be the fact that it’s not called Google Play YouTube Music Unlimited All Access Premium Edition.