YouTube today launched its YouTube Music service in the Netherlands. It has to compete with Spotify Apple Music and other digital music providers. With the service YouTube offers something that others do not have, namely video with your music. On the other hand, it also lacks functions, so it just depends on what you like when you think about switching. YouTube Music will eventually replace Google Play Music if the functionality is proportional. Until then, the latter will remain active.
What does YouTube Music cost?
Let’s start with the most important question. YouTube Music costs (after the free trial period of three months) in the base a tenner. For that you can listen to music without ads and of course also download songs so that you can listen when there is no internet. You get YouTube Premium for 12 euros. That does exactly the same, but gives a weird kind of other bonus. You will not receive any advertising with premium on the rest of YouTube. You can also watch the former YouTube Red videos.
As a family you get an extra option called Family. It costs 15 euros and then up to six people can listen to music. You can also pay extra to avoid advertising on YouTube as a whole, but that costs three euros extra for a total of 18 euros. Not bad: if you can really use six people that is three euros per person and that is not a bad deal for a music service and an advertising-free YouTube.
You can also spend zero euros, but then you get a service that does not mean much: you can listen to music but you do get commercials and when you leave the app the music stops. That is simply YouTube with a music filter.
What does YouTube Music do (not?)
The service is not much different from the other music services. You can listen to music, create playlists, follow artists, see what’s popular (although it’s not personal music preferences) and listen offline. The advantage that YouTube Music has is that live registrations that can be listened to on YouTube and therefore can be played in a playlist without video. In addition, you can also search for text or even a description of numbers via the search function.
You can also watch the video in everything, but fortunately that is optional. You get a setting on the main screen where you can indicate whether you want to see the video with the music or that you do not have to, which you can switch at any time.
Another advantage is that you can watch regular YouTube videos without having the screen active and that will be something attractive for many people. It is not clear whether this also works with, for example, streams that are broadcast live via YouTube.
What Google Music does not have is integrations with other services so you can, for example, see when an artist is playing in the neighborhood or can score tickets for festivals in the app. If you do not use things like that, it is not such a problem. Unfortunately, it is not possible to listen to podcasts via the service.
YouTube Premium makes the difference
In the end, the service is not that different from the other music services, but that’s fine. The big advantage is if you live as a family on YouTube and then get more premium features for a few euros per month. No ads, playing in the background, all very nice and for that extra expense per month it is a nice bonus for people who do not care what service they listen to their music. As a standalone service, YouTube Music is not different enough to make the switch necessary.