Rumors that YouTube was preparing to launch another new music streaming service have been circling for a while now, but the company has finally confirmed it. Next Tuesday (May 22) the aptly named YouTube Music will arrive in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea, before making its way to 14 other countries.
YouTube describes the new platform as a reimagined mobile app and brand-new desktop player designed for music. It will boast thousands of playlists, remixes, covers, live versions, albums, artist radios and more, along with “all the music videos people expect from YouTube.”
YouTube Music will leverage the power of Google Assistant to create a personalized experience for users, offering listening recommendations based on the time of day, location, and listening patterns. Pitchfork writes that it will hypothetically be smart enough to automatically recommend music for multiple situations, such as commuting, working out, and studying.
YouTube says the app can search for songs using vague descriptions, such as “that hipster song with the whistling.” The search function can also be used for lyrics lookups.
Much like rival Spotify, YouTube Music will come with an ad-supported free tier and a premium version, which costs $9.99 per month and offers benefits that include offline downloads, listening while the mobile app is in the background, and no ads, obviously. Subscribers to Google Play Music, which will eventually be phased out, will automatically get the premium version of YouTube Music.
Next Tuesday will also see the YouTube Red subscription service rebranded as YouTube Premium. The price for new members is going up to $11.99 per month, but current members will keep paying $9.99 pm. Subscribers will also get access to YouTube Music Premium.
Google first tried to break into the lucrative music streaming business with the launch of Google Play in 2011, but it never proved as popular as its rivals. The company tried again with the $10 per month Music Key in 2014, which became YouTube Red in 2015 and expanded to include YouTube videos. Whether YouTube Music finally becomes the service that challenges the likes of Spotify and Apple Music remains to be seen.