What Is YouTube Music?

A review of the popular service

YouTube Music is a Google-owned music streaming service that launched on the web, iOS, and Android in November 2015. The service is a combination of music-related videos from the main YouTube library and a variety of tracks, albums, and performances ranging from relaxing piano music to traditional Christmas songs and even musical parodies from popular YouTube creators.

Is YouTube Music Free?

Much like YouTube, YouTube Music is also completely free to use, but there are a few restrictions for those not using the paid version, such as:

  • Video and audio ads will occasionally play between songs.
  • Songs can’t be downloaded for offline listening.
  • Playback will stop when the app is minimized or the device goes to sleep.

To turn off ads, allow for playback when the app is minimized, and enable the ability to download YouTube songs and videos, you’ll need to sign up for the YouTube Music Premium monthly subscription service.

How Much is YouTube Music Premium?

YouTube Music Premium is $9.99 a month and will unlock the following benefits:

  • Ad-free listening.
  • Audio and video downloads.
  • Background listening.

Before signing up, it’s important to note that all Google Play Music subscribers get YouTube Music Premium benefits for free, as do YouTube Premium subscribers. If you already pay for either of these services, you will already have YouTube Music Premium benefits and don't need to sign up for it.

Google Play Music is being phased out in favor of YouTube Music, and will likely go away at the end of 2020. The company is making it easy to transfer playlists and music from Google Play Music to YouTube Music.

YouTube Premium costs $11.99 a month, but also gives you ad-free viewing, downloads, and background play with regular YouTube videos in addition to YouTube Music benefits.

How to Sign up for YouTube Music Premium

When signing up for YouTube Music Premium, it's best to do so via the YouTube Music website as signing up via one of the apps can often result in a higher fee.

Regardless of how you sign up for YouTube Music Premium, you will be given a 30-day free trial so you can experience all of the features before being charged.

Here's how to get YouTube Music Premium.

  1. Open your preferred web browser and go to the YouTube Music website.

    YouTube Music website.
  2. Click Try it Free.

    Click or save money with a family or student plan to see other options. Eligible students can get a discount. Family plans allow users to share their account with up to five others.

  3. Enter your YouTube username or email address and click Next. If you're already logged in, jump to Step 6.

    YouTube Music website.

    If you don't have a YouTube account yet, click Create account.

  4. Enter your password and click Next.

    YouTube Music website.

    If you have phone login enabled, you will be prompted to open the Gmail app on your phone instead.

  5. You should now be logged in and taken back to the main page. Click Try it Free once again.

    YouTube Music website.
  6. Select your preferred payment method and click Buy.

    YouTube Music website Premium sign up.

    This will begin a 30-day free trial of YouTube Music Premium. You will be charged for the first time on the date displayed in the upper-left corner under Monthly charge.

How Can I Write a YouTube Music Review?

Unlike regular YouTube videos on the main YouTube app, it’s not possible to leave comments or reviews on YouTube Music. You can, however, give music videos and songs a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down which can help Google curate more songs closer to your personal tastes.

Music videos that you give a Thumbs Up will be added to your Liked playlist on both the YouTube Music and YouTube app.

  1. Start playing a song on the YouTube Music app as per usual.

  2. Tap the screen lightly to reveal a menu.

    If the menu doesn’t appear, this means that only the audio version is available.

  3. Tap Video if you want to view the music video.

  4. Tap the left or right thumb icons to up-vote or down-vote the music video or song.

    YouTube Music app on iPhone.

How Can I Download Songs on YT Music?

Both YouTube songs and music videos can be downloaded for offline consuming for anyone with an active YouTube Music Premium subscription.

Those using a YouTube Music free account will be unable to download songs and music videos.

  1. Start listing to a song as you usually would.

  2. Tap the ellipsis to the right of the song title.

  3. Tap Download. Your download should immediately begin.

    YouTube Music app on iPhone.
  4. To access your downloaded song, return to the main screen.

    Downloaded songs and music videos are all accessible within the same location. 

  5. Tap your avatar.

  6. Tap Downloads.

  7. Tap Downloaded Songs.

    YouTube Music app on iPhone.