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.

Now Google is launching a new service called… YouTube Music. Go figure.

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.

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2 replies on “Google (re)introduces YouTube Music and rebrands YouTube Red as YouTube Premium”

  1. I have been using GPMusic for a bit less than a year and make good use of Youtube Red as well. They did say that if you already have Youtube Red your current pricing would be grandfathered and so no price hike for you.
    However it was unclear what would happen if you paid for GPMusic as I did. I get Youtube Red gratis now but technically my subscription is not with them. Just to be sure I cancelled my GPMusic subscription today and signed up directly for Youtubed Red.
    Now the upshot is nothing has really changed. Now I get GPMusic gratis. But when Youtube switches from ‘Red’ to “Premium” there shouldn’t be any question of my current pricing being grandfathered.
    Initially this left me double billed for about three weeks as my old pay-date was the fifth and when you cancel it keeps going until that pay-date. It just doesn’t renew.
    Meanwhile signing up for Youtube Red immediately billed me and so my new pay-date is the 17th.
    A quick call to Youtube support had it all sorted though. The guy apologized for the confusion and comped me a month so now I get one week free instead of being double billed for three weeks.
    That’s at least good service on the back end of a confusing information release.
    From a branding perspective I think this makes a lot of sense.

  2. What’s left for Google? They own search, mobile (Android), online ads, video and pretty soon music as well. I guess news is safe, for now?

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