YouTube Music

Streaming Service

YouTube Music is a music streaming service operated by Google-owned video platform YouTube.

YouTube Music offers two different versions, including an ad-supported free tier, known as YouTube Music and a premium tier, called YouTube Music Premium

The platform’s Premium tier includes additional features such as background play, ad-free music and audio-only mode.

The standard YouTube Music Premium subscription costs $9.99 (£9.99) per month, or $14.99 (£14.99) per month for a Family Plan. A student plan is also available for $4.99 (£4.99).

The YouTube Music app was made publicly available in June 2018 on iOS and Android across 17 markets including the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Germany following a limited launch earlier that year.

In October 2020 Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai, said that “YouTube now has over 30 million Music and Premium paid subscribers, and over 35 million including those on free trials”.

Evolution from youTube Music KEy and youTube Red 

YouTube originally launched a music streaming service called YouTube Music Key in beta in November 2014 with a public launch slated for September 2015.

In October 2015 YouTube officially launched a $9.99-per month subscription music service called YouTube Red, replacing YouTube Music Key.

YouTube Red enabled subscribers to watch videos offline without advertising and to play music tracks on the platform in the background of their device.

A Google Play Music membership was also bundled into each YouTube Red subscription, while those signed up also get unlimited access to the YouTube Music app.

In December 2017 Bloomberg reported that YouTube was set to launch a new music streaming service in 2018 codenamed ‘Remix’, which would bring together video clips with an on-demand Spotify-like paid audio service.

A new YouTube music subscription service was subsequently rolled out as an app and desktop player in five markets on May 22 with an ad-supported free tier and a $9.99-per-month package called YouTube Music Premium.

Google Play Music subscribers also had a YouTube Music Premium membership thrown into their deal, and were reassured at the time that “nothing will change” with that service.

YouTube also announced in May 2018 that it would re-brand its premium subscription YouTube Red service as YouTube Premium, which would include access to all YouTube Originals as well as YouTube Music for $11.99 a month.


In September 2016 YouTube announced that former Def Jam and Warner executive Lyor Cohen would be the platform as Global Head of Music.

In June 2017 YouTube confirmed that it hired SoundCloud’s Chief Content Officer, Stephen Bryan as Head of Label Relations at the online video giant.

In June 2019 MBW broke the news that widely respected Warner veteran Dan Chalmers had been poached YouTube to run YouTube Music in EMEA. This news was confirmed in January 2020 when it was announced that Chalmers had been named Director of YouTube Music in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Closure of Google Play Music and replacement by YouTube Music

In August 2020, Google revealed that YouTube Music would replace Google Play Music by December 2020 and that in the coming months, Google Play Music users would no longer be able to stream from the Google Play Music app.

Users were able to transfer their music libraries from Google Play Music to YouTube Music through December 2020 (after which their Google Play Music libraries would become unavailable).Music Business Worldwide

YouTube Music In The News

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