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Your guide to all the YouTube services: YouTube Music, YouTube Premium, and more
YouTube is easily the most well-known video platform on the web. Launched in 2005, and then acquired by Google in 2006 for over $1.6 billion, the video service began its life mostly as a web-based PC service, allowing anyone to upload their creations for everyone to see and watch. When smartphones started becoming popular by the end of the 2000s, followed by the rise of smart TVs and mobile apps followed, and its popularity exploded. Google now says that over two billion users worldwide check out YouTube videos every month and that over 70 percent of its video views come from mobile devices.
Read more: All of Google’s YouTube apps
Of course, there’s a lot more to YouTube than just its core service. Google has branded many products with the brand name including YouTube Music, YouTube Premium, and YouTube TV. While they may share the same brand, they all have very different features. Here’s a look at all of the YouTube services that Google currently offers.
YouTube (including YouTube Kids)
The OG YouTube service is still massively popular and easily the most important of the services under the brand. Anyone can upload their videos on the service and there are no fees for those who want to watch them either. Google does have certain rules over what kind of videos can be uploaded. That includes ones that are subject to copyright infringements. This has caused quite a bit of controversy for the service over the years. Some companies have attempted to remove videos that include content that’s not been approved by the copyright owner for posting.
Content makers can create channels to upload their original videos, and users can subscribe to those channels and be informed when new content goes live. Those users can also post comments under each uploaded video (if the creator allows them to do so). Creators can also launch live streams of their content as well. Indeed, live streaming has become an effective way for companies to launch new products or promote their latest ventures to the rest of the world.
Content creators can make money by using Google’s AdSense program, which normally puts in video ads in front of, or sometimes inside, their clips. They can also make money via banner ads placed on the bottom of their clips. More advanced creators can access other revenue programs. They include Super Chats, which allow their audience to pay to get special highlighted status for a live stream. There’s also Super Stickers which lets chat members access exclusive stickers that appear in the chat messages. Finally, creators can set up optional Channel Memberships. For a monthly fee, fans of a channel can get perks like exclusive emojis and badges in chat, special access to member only videos and live events, and more.
Google lets people rent or pay for digital movies and TV shows from big and small Hollywood studios directly from YouTube. Any movie purchased on the service can also be viewed in the Google TV app on the same Google account, and vice versa. The service also has a selection of Hollywood movies and TV shows that can be viewed in full for free, if you don’t mind commercials. If you decide to sign up and pay for YouTube Premium, you can eliminate those commercials for the free movies.
Read more: Best free movies on YouTube
Google also has a separate YouTube Kids app. This is basically a curated way for kids to surf videos that are made for the younger audience, with some extra parental controls. It’s not really a separate service; it’s more of a restricted version of the same service.
Music offers streaming music from a vast library of songs and albums as well as music videos, and it allows you to create and manage your own playlists. While Music can be accessed in an ad-supported version for free, the real benefits come when you pay for a premium subscription. For $9.99 a month, you can ditch the ads and listen to your favorite tunes without annoying breaks, and it also supports offline music listening via downloads, as well as playing songs in the background or while your phone screen is locked.
Read more: Best YouTube Music alternatives
If you are an eligible student, you can access the paid Music service for just $4.99 a month. If you have more than one person in your family that wants to access it, there’s also a $14.99 a month tier that supports up to six family members in one household on one account.
YouTube Premium was previously called YouTube Red but was renamed when the Music service launched in June 2018. It’s also the only service that doesn’t come with its own app. It’s a paid add-on for power users. For $11.99 a month, you not only get all of the benefits of Music, but you can also watch nearly any YouTube video without any banner ads or video ad breaks.
In addition, you can listen to the audio of any YouTube video in the background with a Premium subscription. You can download and watch videos offline as well. It supports Picture-in-Picture mode which allows users to watch or listen to videos and still work with other apps on their mobile devices.
The service also has the optional Smart Downloads feature, which, when turned on, can automatically download recommended YouYube content to your mobile device. It also adds watching YouTube content with others with Google Meet live sharing, and you can change the speed of a video’s playback. Some live events will have YouTube Premium chats and online after-parties. Finally, you can sign up to test out new YouTube features with your Premium subscription before those features are launched to the public.
Read more: Is YouTube Premium worth it?
As with Music, students can sign up for Premium for a lower price — $6.99 a month. There’s also a family plan for $17.99 a month that covers up to six people on one account.
YouTube TV, much like Music, is Google’s entry into an already crowded field of entertainment services. This time, YouTube TV is taking on internet-based TV services like Sling, FuboTV, Hulu Plus Live TV, and others. Signing up for YouTube TV will allow you to watch live television from your smartphone, smart TV, or other supported devices. Over 80 channels are available with the basic subscription. That includes all of your local broadcast channels. YouTube TV is now available in the entire United States.
Read more: All of the YouTube TV channels
YouTube TV allows up to six people to use the service on one account, and it supports up to three simultaneous video streams. Perhaps the service’s biggest feature is the unlimited cloud DVR feature. Yes, you can record and rewatch as many TV shows and movies on your TV channel lineup as you want with no storage limits. The only limit it does have is time; the cloud DVR recordings will expire nine months after you store them.
The price for the service is $72.99 a month with a 14-day free trial. There are a number of other channels that you can add to your lineup for additional fees. They include regional sports networks and pay movie channels like HBO Max, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, and Epix. Spanish language users can sign up for a separate $34.99 a month plan that has nearly 30 Spanish-based live channels. There’s also another add-on package that adds 4K streaming for some channels, a way to download content to your mobile device, and unlimited streams on your home network.
Yes, but only if YouTube Premium is available in the country or countries where you are traveling.
Yes. Signing up for YouTube Music Premium will let you access the service in your car via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with the Waze app. Sonos wireless speakers also support YouTube Music Premium.
No, a live streaming even may still have video commercials that cannot be blocked by YouTube Premium.