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YouTube Music app

Google just announced the new YouTube Music app that pairs with a YouTube Red Subscription service for unlimited ad-free audio and video streams.

Join us as CNET goes hands-on.

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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Custom stations

Every song you play within the app is saved into a personal history log and used to create individual radio stations of genres, bands and tracks that the algorithm thinks you'll love.

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Related music

The YouTube Music app organizes all the different versions of your music into a central hub, with guided paths for artist discovery and song curation that make your experience a real listening adventure.

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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Offline mixtape

The app has an offline mixtape section that automatically saves discovery items based on your taste profile.

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Adjust the variety of the Offline Mixtape

For convenience, you can adjust settings that tell the app your preference for video or audio (or both), how much local storage you want to allocate to offline access, whether or not you want to save over Wi-Fi, and the resolution quality of the videos.

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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Search

The app starts with the search bar, which was rebuilt from the original app to be music-specific, so the app will only show you music-related results.

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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

New music discovery

Much of the app is designed to bring the user into a "lean back" listening experience where YouTube curates a playlist for you to enjoy based on your individual music taste.

There's a separate section of the app called YouTube Music Today that organizes playlists into thematic silos according to genre, popular music, internationally trending songs and albums, eye-grabbing videos and more.

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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET

Tracking your "likes"

Once you start listening to a radio station, you can hit a thumbs up or thumbs down icon just like on the YouTube's desktop site that tells the algorithm to serve more or less of something.

Songs you "like" are also saved into a repository for you to come back to later, so you don't have to remember everything along the way.

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Adjust your variety

You can even control how much variety you'll hear for any given station, similar to Pandora: there's a slider inside the app settings for this purpose -- if you position it all the way to the left, you'll hear less variety (meaning only the original artist's work will play). Drag it all the way to the right and you'll open yourself up to more variety with live performances, fan videos, lyric videos, tributes, related tracks and more.

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YouTube Red

When you download the YouTube Music app, you'll automatically get a two-week free membership to YouTube Red, a new paid subscription service that Google announced last month that lets users experience the site (and the Music app) without ads for $10 a month.

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Audio-only mode

If you do a search and bring it up on the YouTube Music app, you can toggle a little red "audio only" button on top of the screen that pauses the video so you can turn off the display and put the phone back in your pocket while you listen.

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Social

There are some social elements built into the app for now (like the ability to send videos and post them to various social media feeds), but YouTube tells us that as future versions release, you can expect to see more elements like collaborative playlists and friend feeds built into the app.

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