Just over a week after the launch of the Spotify in India, there is a new streaming service in town. YouTube has launched YouTube Premium, YouTube Originals and YouTube Music in India from tonight — the services were launched globally last June.
YouTube Music is as the name suggests, built on top of YouTube. This also gives the service a big differentiator, that users can also watch the video of each if needed. YouTube Music is a different app altogether and unlike the YouTube app plays even when the app has been minimised.
The app is also highly personalized and as you select the artists you like more similar artists are shown for you to select. For instance, if you add AR Rahman, you start seeing Harris Jayaraj in the next row. This is a great feature, obviously built on the data from billions of users on YouTube. There is already a good mix of Indian songs and playlists on offer, that too in a mix of languages.
Users can download songs or just like them to create a list of liked songs or albums. Adding to playlist is also an easy options and those created before on YouTube are already listed in the app. There is also a good recommendations engine that starts throwing up music you are likely to like based on what you have already listened to.
Google is also packing in a bit of its search muscle to make it easier for users. So you can search with pretty much anything you know about a song. For instance, I searched “You can take my hat” and was shown ‘Wear My Hat’ by Phil Collins, exactly what I was looking for.
To listen ad-free, in the background and on-the-go with downloads, you will need to buy a YouTube Music Premium subscription. For paid members the Offline Mixtape automatically downloads up to 100 songs you love on your mobile device. YouTube Music Premium is priced Rs 99 a month.
YouTube Premium and YouTube Originals
YouTube has also brought its premium service with original content to India. Earlier called YouTube Red, this service offers ad-free playback and access to YouTube’s cache or original shows and movies. At the moment there are a mix of shows, but nothing big enough to drive someone to take a subscription. We will have to wait and see if YouTube will put its money behind Indian shows.
YouTube Premium will be available for ₹129 a month and will include membership to YouTube Music Premium. The subscription will offer an ad-free experience with background play and offline downloads for millions of videos on YouTube, as well as access to all YouTube Originals.
Those buying the new Samsung Galaxy S10 series will also get four months of free access to YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium.