Whether you are switching music services to make a political statement or just want to experience a different app, YouTube Music is an often overlooked choice.
Spotify is quite popular, but the service’s handling of Joe Rogan’s questionable and exclusive podcast has drawn controversy. Apple Music, Tidal HiFi, and YouTube Music are all quality alternative streaming picks.
If you are curious about YouTube Music and how it stacks up against the competition, we gathered all the crucial information you need to understand the streaming service and get started.
What Plans Are Available?
YouTube Music offers a free, ad-supported option. In his roundup of the best music streaming services, WIRED’s Matt Jancer notes that this tier only works on smartphones when your screen is on and the app is open. Although the free option is not ideal for mobile listening, you can use YouTube Music’s browser page for easy and subscription-less access to songs on your desktop or laptop.
The subscription plans are confusingly named, so keep in mind that YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium are different plans. A YouTube Music Premium membership allows you to access the entire catalog without ads and play songs while the app is closed. Individual plans cost $10 a month and student plans cost $5 a month. On the family plan, a subscription can be shared with up to five people for $15 a month.
You may want to avoid signing up through the mobile app, however. While testing the streaming service, YouTube Music Premium cost $3 more a month for the individual plan if a subscription was initiated through the iPhone app.
As someone who often watches YouTube videos on my phone and smart TV, the slightly more expensive YouTube Premium is worth it. In addition to all the YouTube Music benefits, you gain the ability to watch YouTube without ads, download videos for offline viewing, and play videos in the background. For YouTube Premium, the individual plan is $12 a month, the student plan is $7 a month, and the family plan is $18 a month.
Anyone who has a positive experience with YouTube Music Premium or YouTube Premium can receive a discounted rate for the individual plan if they switch over to an annual subscription. The annual plan for YouTube Music Premium costs $100, which is $20 less than the monthly option over the same time period. YouTube Premium costs $120 per year, saving you up to $24. Neither of the annual plans automatically renew.
How to Create an Account
YouTube Music uses a Google account to log in. If you already have a profile set up for YouTube, Gmail, or Google Docs, then those same credentials can be used for your YouTube Music account.
Anyone without an existing account can create a new profile on their computer or smartphone. You don’t go to YouTube Music when creating an account, instead visit Google’s sign up page. Fill out your name, create a username and password, and click Next. You will be asked to provide a phone number, recovery email address, birthday, and gender.