Google’s new YouTube Music streaming service arrives today for some users, available either for free with ads, $9.99 per month without, or $11.99 per month for YouTube Premium (previously YouTube Red), which includes original video content. Anyone who already has a Google Play Music subscription gets YouTube Music as part of that membership.
YouTube Music is Google’s most straightforward answer to Spotify to date, and comes with both a redesigned app and new desktop player, both designed specifically around playing music. Google argues that using YouTube for music needs has an advantage as it incorporates not just official versions of songs, but remixes, live versions, and covers. There’s also the promise that Google’s AI will make YouTube Music a “lean back” experience so those overwhelmed by the choices most streaming platforms offer can instead rely on YouTube to do most of the heavy lifting with discovery.
There are other areas where YouTube Music does some heavy lifting on a user’s behalf, like a new feature called Your Mixtape. A collection automatically created from music compiled from favorite artists, songs frequently listened to, and new recommendations, Your Mixtape is automatically downloaded to a user’s phone, accessible for offline listening. YouTube Music recommendations will also take into account variables like the time of day and location.
The early access is limited to a portion of users in the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. YouTube says Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom will be added in the coming weeks.