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YouTube Premium: Is it worth it? Pricing, content, and more
It has been half a decade since YouTube Premium launched. First known as YouTube Red, the service is now bundled with YouTube Music Premium and offers many perks for a better viewing and listening experience. However, although the service has matured over the years, YouTube Premium hasn’t exploded in popularity. The relentless sign-up pop-ups certainly didn’t help, but there are solid arguments in favor of subscribing. So, is YouTube Premium worth it? We detail the service’s pros, cons, price, and features below.
What is YouTube Premium?
YouTube is the largest video-sharing platform on the web, with plenty of free content for viewing. So, why is there a premium version, and what does it offer?
YouTube Premium is the platform’s paid subscription service. It replaced YouTube Red and has several benefits, notably removing all ads across YouTube services.
YouTube Premium features
So, what comes with YouTube Premium? Below is everything you can expect with your subscription:
- Ad-free videos: no annoying ad breaks on any content on any device logged into your Premium account.
- Background play: you can listen to long videos, podcasts, and music with your screen locked.
- Offline playback: you can download videos for later offline viewing.
- YouTube Music Premium: ad-free access to the dedicated music app and its catalog of millions of songs.
- YouTube Originals: ad-free Originals and access to exclusive premium content.
It’s worth noting that although YouTube Originals used to be exclusive for Premium subscribers, many are now available for everyone. Granted, the only way to watch them ad-free is with YouTube Premium.
How much is YouTube Premium?
Surely, by now, you’ve seen the pop-ups for a free month trial of YouTube Premium, but how much does it cost once the trial is up?
YouTube Premium’s three tiers saw a slight price increase in 2023. The individual plan costs $13.99/month. There’s also a more expensive family plan at $22.99/month. A student plan is available at $7.99/month but requires some student verification. The family plan, which hasn’t seen a price jump, supports up to five family members in the same household. This is the best value option for those with kids or larger families. Since 2022, YouTube has offered an annual plan that costs $139.99/year for individuals.
You’ll find different prices for YouTube Premium worldwide. In some cases, it may be cheaper in another country entirely.
As a recap, here is how much each YouTube Premium plan costs:
1 month for new members
1 month for new members
1 month for new members
- Prepaid plan
- Members required to reside at the same address
- Student identification required
- Limited to select countries
- Maximum of four years
Is YouTube Premium worth it?
The answer is no if you are looking for a Netflix or Hulu substitute. However, if you want a more than decent music streaming service and a better viewing experience on YouTube, you can’t go wrong with YouTube Premium. It not only makes videos more enjoyable for you as a viewer, but it also supports your favorite creators.
With YouTube officially blocking ad blockers to view YouTube ad-free, YouTube Premium remains the only official way to watch your favorite creators without interruption.
So, if you haven’t tried it yet, the next time you see the annoying prompt, don’t ignore it and test the service yourself. You might find that you like it.
What we like about YouTube Premium
If you regularly watch content on YouTube, most Premium subscription perks are as good as they sound.
It is hard to understate how great the ad-free experience is until you’ve tried it. Many of us use ad blockers on our PCs, but advertisements are much harder to escape on mobile. And frankly, they pay for the content you watch, so it’s nice to find a way to skip them without harming creators. With the implementation of double pre-roll and unskippable ads, YouTube Premium’s ad-free experience is a necessity for anyone who spends a significant amount of time on the platform. Watching your favorite creators on the big screen of your TV when casting or using the smart TV app is also a lot more pleasant without constant interruptions.
Speaking of creators, however, YouTube Premium has another great advantage that is not mentioned enough: revenue sharing. A Premium subscription supports the YouTubers you love because YouTube shares a portion of the revenue for every view they receive from subscribers. This supposedly includes demonetized videos, too.
The good stuff doesn’t end there, however. The access to Premium YouTube Music included in your subscription is underrated. The service has a huge catalog of songs. I was personally able to find every obscure song I could think of. Even if some weren’t available as song files, I could still listen to the music videos with my screen locked.
The variety of genres and artists would please even the snobbiest music fans. For them, a YouTube Premium subscription could be worth it for the tunes alone. It only costs $2 more per month than Spotify Premium, with additional YouTube perks to boot.
What YouTube Premium needs to improve
When YouTube Red first launched, all the marketing seemed focused on original content. All of your favorite YouTubers but with bigger budgets — who wouldn’t want that? Unfortunately, YouTube still hasn’t delivered in this area. Nowadays, most originals are not exclusive to Premium subscribers. You can watch them with ads on a free account, but the quality seems to be deteriorating. The platform also looks to be pushing YouTubers aside in favor of celebrities.
This is unfortunate because YouTube seems to be squandering the potential of its existing creators. We have already seen how well some could do with bigger budgets. Mind Field, a documentary series by Michael from Vsauce, is the perfect example. Vsauce was already well-known for its fascinating scientific content, and Mind Field allowed Michael to dive deeper into issues by conducting experiments, interviewing experts, and more. It made for an intriguing and entertaining series.
Today, YouTube could easily repeat its success by collaborating with channels such as Kurzgesagt, Crash Course, or even someone like the Angry Video Game Nerd. Instead, we have series like Celebrity Substitute and Create Together With Me with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Even if you don’t mind the celebrity videos, Originals are sometimes easy to miss. Although I have been subscribed to Premium for a few months, I rarely get recommendations for Originals, and few, if any, have popped up on my home page. That’s a shame because some hidden gems like The Boy Band Con documentary are highly recommended. The Originals tab isn’t designed well either, making it hard to discover new things to watch.
Finally, the other major qualm some users might have with YouTube Premium is its price. Suppose you are not taking advantage of YouTube Music Premium. In that case, it’s hard to justify spending $11.99/month for an ad-free experience and some original content, especially after spending a decade or more watching most of it for free.
YouTube Premium problems and solutions
If you’re a YouTube Premium subscriber and still encounter ads, there’s likely a good reason for it. Our guide for removing ads from YouTube Premium goes into deeper detail, but as a quick guide, find some of the potential fixes below.
- Check if you’re using YouTube in an incognito window.
- You’ll also want to enable YouTube cookies in your browser, and this is how YouTube will identify your membership.
- Finally, double-check that you’re signed in to YouTube. This is particularly important if you use a Google Chrome alternative, like Firefox or Safari.