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YouTube Music vs YouTube Premium: Your music streaming options explained

YouTube has a few different paid services. Which one will best meet your needs?
By
May 6, 2022
YouTube Music on smartphone stock photo 4
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

YouTube was once a simple service. You simply uploaded your videos to the platform or watched videos other people uploaded. However, it has since diversified its portfolio, so to speak. YouTube Music, YouTube Premium, and YouTube Originals are now part of the main YouTube experience.

Here’s everything you need to know about all of these services.

YouTube Music Premium

QUICK ANSWER
YouTube is a video streaming service and YouTube Music is a music streaming service that uses YouTube as its backbone.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

  1. What is YouTube and YouTube Music?
  2. What Are YouTube and YouTube Music's features
  3. Should I get YouTube Premium or YouTube Music?


What is YouTube and YouTube Music?

YouTube on smartphone stock photo 4
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
For the sake of clarity, let’s get the basics out of the way first and we’ll talk more about them afterward. Here is everything in YouTube and what it does.

  • YouTube – YouTube is a video streaming service powered by the users of the site. It boasts 500 new minutes of content every minute and it’s the most popular streaming website ever.
  • YouTube Premium – A subscription service with enhanced features for YouTube users. Features include background play on mobile devices, downloading videos for offline use, and no advertising.
  • YouTube Music – YouTube Music was once just an offshoot of YouTube. It originally showed only music videos. However, it has since grown into a full-fledged music streaming service that uses YouTube as its backbone.
  • YouTube Originals – YouTube Originals is a set of exclusive content for YouTube. You used to need a YouTube Premium subscription to watch them, but YouTube made them free in late 2019.

It may seem confusing but it’s actually not that bad. YouTube is the platform and YouTube Premium is the service. YouTube Music and Music Premium are separate products for only music content. Of course, YouTube also has additional offshoots like YouTube Kids and YouTube TV. You can read about those with the link below.

Related: Every YouTube service available


What are YouTube and YouTube Music’s features?

YouTube on smartphone stock photo 14
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
YouTube Premium has a wide array of additional features. The full list includes:

  • Ad-free video content – You can watch anything on YouTube without ads.
  • Offline downloads – Download and watch content offline with your mobile device. You can also download whole playlists.
  • Background play – You can leave the video screen and continue to browse YouTube or the rest of your phone. You can also listen while the screen is off.
  • YouTube Music – Yes, YouTube Music is included in the price of regular YouTube Premium. The reverse is not true for YouTube Music subscribers, though.
  • YouTube Kids – All of the above, but in the YouTube Kids app.

The YouTube Music subscription includes all the same stuff, but it’s locked to the YouTube Music app. For example, with a Music subscription, you can open YouTube Music and listen to music ad-free and in the background with offline downloads. However, if you go onto actual YouTube and watch a Binging With Babish video, it will still have ads. YouTube Originals are also locked behind the Premium paywall.


YouTube Premium and YouTube Music prices

YouTube Quality Settings 1
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
The prices for YouTube Premium are fairly reasonable.. It runs for $11.99 per month for a single plan and $17.99 per month for a family plan. The family plan includes you and up to five other people for a total of six. You can read more about YouTube Premium here.

YouTube Music is the weird one in the family. It comes as part of the YouTube Premium membership. Thus, if you pay $11.99 per month (or $17.99 per month for a family plan), you already have the music version as well.

However, you can purchase the YouTube Music service on its own for $9.99 per month for one user and $14.99 per month for a family plan. This competes directly with Apple Music, Spotify, and others. You can read more about YouTube Music family plans here.

Both versions offer discounted student plans as well. A student YouTube Premium account will run you $6.99 per month, while a standalone YouTube Music plan for students is $4.99 per month.


Should I get YouTube Premium or YouTube Music?

YouTube on the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
Usually, we can find good reasons for you to get one thing or another thing. However, this is not the case this time. YouTube Premium is obviously the better bargain. It includes ad-free support for both regular YouTube and YouTube Music along with YouTube Kids subscription for a paltry $3 per month extra. We think that’s an excellent bargain for access to two different services, including ad-free access to the world’s most popular video streaming service.

The only time we wouldn’t recommend the more expensive plan is if you literally only use YouTube for music. In that case, the $9.99 per month option would be best for you. It’s simple enough to graduate to the more expensive plan should you ever want an ad-free experience on all of YouTube.


Read more: Here is every available YouTube TV channel

We can see how all of this can be confusing. However, it all boils down to the choice between getting both services for one price or just getting the music subscription by itself. The music subscription is an okay deal, but it’s matched in price by competitors like Spotify, Apple Music, and others. Did we miss anything? Sound off in the comments!