Fed up with flicking between watching music videos on the YouTube app and listening to audio on your music streaming service of choice? Google thinks it's cooked up just the thing for you.
The company on Monday launched YouTube Music, a subscription service that serves as its latest challenger to Spotify and Apple Music. The app is available now on iOS and Android in 17 countries, including the US, the UK and Australia.
YouTube Music is a catch-all app that brings all the music content on YouTube together with a massive catalog of audio for streaming. The service will bring an end to Google's other subscription efforts, including YouTube Red's ad-free, paywalled video tier and Google Play Music.
But if you already subscribe to Apple Music or Spotify, what might persuade you to make the switch? When asked this question at a press conference in London on Monday, the global head of music for YouTube, Lyor Cohen, simply said: "because it's all here."
YouTube is the internet's biggest video site, with more than 1.8 billion accounts tuning in every month. Much of that "viewing" is actually music listening, as music videos consistently rank among the most popular clips on YouTube, making it one of the biggest single sources of music listening worldwide. Google is effectively counting on the draw of offering a combination of video and music in one app as a reason for people to make the switch. But it does also offer a couple of nifty features that might help seal the deal.
One is an automatically generated offline mixtape -- a playlist of between 20 and 100 songs that's updated every day based on your own tastes and preferences. It means that whether or not you remembered to sync your latest playlist for offline listening, you'll always end up with fresh music to listen to if you find yourself unable to stream over Wi-Fi or 4G.
The second is a search tool with all the smarts you might expect from a Google-run service. Don't know the name of the song or artist, but you do remember the lyrics? No problem -- you can search for them instead and the app should surface the song you're looking for. You don't even need to be accurate. Search "Starbucks lovers", for example and the app will show the video for Taylor Swift's Blank Space.
A paid membership to YouTube Music Premium that gives you background listening, downloads and an ad-free experience costs $9.99 or £9.99 a month. If you're not sure about paying for the service, you can also sign up for an ad-supported version.
If you already subscribe to Google Play Music, don't fret -- the two apps will continue to co-exist until YouTube Music gets some of the more popular features from its predecessor and your tastes and preferences can be synced over.
A third option, simply called YouTube Premium, offers access to YouTube Music along with a slew of original non-music video content. Also launching Monday, "YouTube Originals" are a roster of new shows made in collaboration with popular YouTube personalities and celebrities that Google is hoping you'll find so compelling you'll shell out an extra £2/$2 per month.
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