A new audiovisual experience
First there was Google Play Music. Now the Google giant has released an update to the world’s biggest video platform: YouTube Music. Think Spotify for Google, YouTube Music is a new competitor in the sea of streaming services. Where the world’s biggest data giant meets the colossal video platform, this multiplatform streaming app delivers one mighty musical punch. YouTube Music offers up 30 million tracks with videos from a vast variety of artists and genres. Discover trending songs or use the location service to listen to playlists tailored to your personal schedule.
Flagship streaming service by Google
YouTube Music, Google Play Music or YouTube itself. What’s the difference? Google does love a good conundrum. YouTube Music has been released in parallel with their own Google Play Music. The latter will allow you to import your own music library and buy tunes from the store. YouTube Music on the other hand, is the streaming app to complement YouTube itself. Think Spotify with videos and unparalleled recommendations and personalized playlists. How could they be bettered? Compared to Google Play Music this app has the edge where catered recommendations are concerned. Also, you are not limited to polished and released tracks but you can search for stand-up comedy or parody music videos. Can it outcompete favorites such as Spotify or Apple Music?
YouTube Music is jacking the vast library of Google data to cater to musical tastes you didn’t even know you had. Google does perhaps know you better than you do yourself.
The app will automatically transfer over your liked videos from YouTube itself. Therefore, even before you begin selecting artists to help the algorithm, there are some ready-made playlists. Unlike Google Play Music you cannot add new tunes directly from your computer. It also has a smaller selection of songs and the playlist feature is not as seamless and shareable as that of Spotify. What it has over its competitors however is the “Location” option.
If you turn on the location-based recommendation feature, Google will use your GPS to create a playlist to complement exactly where you are. Rushing to the office? Cue pumped up riffs to power that walk. Settling down to concentrate? Let the relaxing background tunes serenade your studies. The recommendations are uncannily spot-on. This is the upside of Google’s otherwise invasive data mining. You have the option to turn off your history. Choosing to integrate your watch history does keep the app up to date in terms of your taste. YouTube Music is an easy way to discover new tunes that you are highly likely to enjoy.
As far as design the app user interface is intuitive and easy-on-the-eye, thanks to the dark mode and grid layout. There is a free version with adverts but one major drawback is that the background listening is blocked by a paywall. This is not the case with even the ad-riddled free versions of Spotify and is a real disincentive to making the move. Unless you want to go the full haul and subscribe to YouTube Premium for the entire entertainment network you may be better just giving the trial version a go. YouTube Music is trying to be a unique hybrid of music and video streaming. This does carry the side-effect of tutorials and parody music videos into your music library. So far YouTube Music may not be sounding the funeral gong to Spotify and other major streaming apps. Nevertheless, one awesome feature it holds above the rest is the lyric search. Finally, a streaming app where you can search for songs by the lyric itself instead of a segway to Google to look up the title.
Where can you run this program?
YouTube Music is primarily for Android or iOS smartphones. You can run the desktop version of the app too. For iPhones you will need iOS 10.0 or later and you can use YouTube Music on your phone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Android users will require devices with Android 4.4 and up. If you want to use it on your computer then the browsers Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari are all supported.
You can also play YouTube Music through your smart speakers including Sonos, Bose, Pixel Buds, and Google Home speakers. Only premium service members will be able to use additional apps such as Apple CarPlay, Sonos Wireless Speakers, and Android Auto.
Is there a better alternative?
Your music streaming service is very much a personal choice. Do you need a vast library and niche playlists that are easy to share with friends? Spotify is still the global favorite, with over 30 million tunes to choose from in a sleek freemium app. For Amazon or Google disciples, then Amazon Music or Apple Music could be your best choice respectively. Amazon Music is the streaming app that comes part and parcel of Prime membership and overall it good work out the best value if you combine it with access to movies, TV series and free Amazon deliveries.
If you have an iPhone or Mac computer then Apple Music would integrate seamlessly into your devices and has a 24/7 radio station “Beats 1” with great shows.
Artists and audiophiles alike should check out Tidal. The app launched by Jay-Z has famously high-quality audio and pays its musicians more than other services.
Loyal users of Google Play Music may question the existence of YouTube Music. Why replace a working and beloved streaming app? While YouTube Music is said to be complementary and not contradictory to Google Play Music, nevertheless the latter is reportedly being discontinued (although no date has been announced). Where YouTube Music is decidedly superior is the lyric search function which apps such as Spotify do not offer. YouTube Music is an audiovisual experience. If you want to watch the music videos (into which millions have often been poured, they make for some great viewing) as you listen then it could be a good choice.
Should you download it?
For the audiovisual experience and a sleek user interface, YouTube Music is worth checking out. Do download it and see for yourself.
- Search function
- User interface
- Personalized playlists
- Paywall for background listening