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Annual subscriptions now exist for YouTube Premium/Music, but they're tricky

Those of you with an existing Premium/Music subscription can't just jump to an annual plan, unfortunately.
By
January 18, 2022
YouTube Music on smartphone stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • You can now get a YouTube Music or YouTube Premium annual subscription.
  • The annual offers save you money in the long run as compared to the current rates.
  • However, grandfathered plans might not save money. The offers also aren’t open to everyone easily.

YouTube’s paid subscription plans have been pretty straightforward. For a monthly fee, you can watch and download ad-free YouTube video content or listen to millions of songs without ad interruptions.

See also: YouTube Music vs Spotify

However, you’ve only ever been able to pay monthly for these services. Today, though, Google quietly rolled out YouTube Music and YouTube Premium annual subscriptions (h/t 9to5Google). As one would expect, paying for the subscriptions annually instead of monthly saves you some cash in the long run. Google says this is a limited-time offer until January 23, 2022, although we expect the discounts would continue after that date but at lower overall savings.

Interestingly, annual subscriptions are not as prevalent as you’d think them to be. Spotify and Netflix — the two biggest companies in their respective industries — don’t offer annual plans, for example. The idea of there being a YouTube Premium annual offer is certainly good news.

Unfortunately, the annual offer is not simple (I mean, this is Google we’re talking about). Here’s how it works.

YouTube Music and YouTube Premium annual subscriptions

If you aren’t currently subscribed to either YouTube Music or Premium, getting the new annual plan is pretty easy. As long as you live in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, Germany, Thailand, India, or Japan, you just sign up as you usually would. During the process, you can choose one of the new annual plans.

The YouTube Premium annual plan will cost you $107.99. Since the monthly plan is $11.99, that means you’ll see a savings of $3-per-month or a total of $36 saved each year. Meanwhile, the premium Music subscription will cost you $89.99 each year, which is a savings of $2.50-per-month or $30 each year. Remember, these rates are only active until January 23. After that date, they will either change or possibly vanish altogether.

Related: Is YouTube Premium worth it?

However, if you already have a monthly subscription plan for either service, you can’t just migrate to an annual plan. Instead, you need to cancel your current monthly plan and then sign up again for the annual plan. Don’t worry: your playlists and other features won’t be lost, since those are tied to your account, not your subscription.

To add an extra layer of confusion, people with grandfathered YouTube Music plans should do the math here. If you locked in the $7.99 rate from the transition away from Google Play Music, your savings with the annual plan would be nominal ($6 each year). Likewise, if Google alters the pricing of the annual plan later, those paying a locked-in $9.99 rate might save money this year but lose out in the next.

Thanks for making this very confusing, Google.