Mountain View search giant Google formally launched its YouTube Premium and YouTube Music services in Canada yesterday, but many users have since expressed concern regarding each service’s pricing and content structure.
Below is a brief guide to understanding the new Google media pricing structure.
It’s important to note that the YouTube website and mobile apps are still free for all users. Anyone looking to watch a let’s play video, a video essay, a trailer breakdown or a classic kitten video can still do so for free. YouTube is still an ad-supported platform and free users will need to watch ads to consume content.
No doubt anticipating a flood of questions and concerns about cost and pricing, Google issued a chart that explains precisely what is included in a subscription to each of its new paid-tier services.
Whether the chart has made understanding the pricing structure more complicated, however, is a separate issue entirely.
A $11.99 CAD subscription to YouTube Premium provides users with an automatic subscription to YouTube Music Premium and Google Play Music.
YouTube Premium provides users with an ad-free YouTube and YouTube Music browsing experience and allows users to download YouTube videos to watch offline.
YouTube Premium also unlocks the full suite of YouTube Originals — original content intended to compete with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.
YouTube Music and YouTube Music Premium
While YouTube Premium is Google’s complete media experience — including music and video content — YouTube Music is Google’s response to music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.
The free version provides access to ad-supported music videos and songs, while the paid version — YouTube Music Premium — provides users with ad-free music, the ability to listen to music in the background, as well as the ability to download both music videos and songs to listen to offline.
Additionally, a $9.99 YouTube Music Premium subscription includes a complete Google Play Music subscription. Anyone with a YouTube Music Premium subscription can access the complete catalogue of music available on Google’s first music streaming app.
It should be mentioned that, unlike Google Play Music, users don’t have as much control over the quality of the music they download.
While music videos can be download in 360p and 720p, songs are locked to YouTube’s standard bitrate.
Additionally, YouTube Music does not carry any podcasts — unlike Google Play Music, which has an entire section dedicated to podcasts.
The Google Play Music of it all
In addition to its two newest streaming services, Google has chosen to maintain its Google Play Music streaming service.
A $9.99 Google Play Music subscription provides complete access to YouTube Music Premium, including the ability to download music videos and songs and listen to ad-free music when not in the YouTube Music app.
A central point of confusion has been the relationship between Google Play Music and YouTube Premium. This stems from the manner in which Google first launched YouTube Red — the precursor to YouTube Premium — in the U.S. in 2015.
Before the YouTube Premium rebrand and subsequent launch, Google Play Music subscribers had access to YouTube Red.
However, this is not completely the case for YouTube Premium. To be clear, a Google Play Music subscription does not provide users with a YouTube Premium subscription.
That being said, a Google call centre representative told MobileSyrup during a phone call that existing Google Play Music subscribers who paid for their subscription before the launch of YouTube Premium and YouTube Music in Canada may be able to access YouTube Premium with their Google Play Music subscriptions.
Existing Google Play Music subscribers need to contact Google to initiate this process.