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YouTube Music and Premium Jumps to More Than 80M Subscribers

The streaming giant credits fans, new features and partnerships for its growth surge.

Kourtnee Jackson Senior Editor
Kourtnee covers TV streaming services and home entertainment news and reviews at CNET. She previously worked as an entertainment reporter at Showbiz Cheat Sheet where she wrote about film, television, music, celebrities, and streaming platforms.
Expertise Cord-cutting | TV and music streaming services | Netflix | Disney Plus | Max | Anime | Interviews | Entertainment Credentials
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Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
Expertise Streaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation online Credentials
  • Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
Kourtnee Jackson
Joan E. Solsman
2 min read
youtube music logo on a phone

YouTube blasted past last year's subscriber numbers.

James Martin/CNET

YouTube's Music and Premium services have reached 80 million paid subscribers globally as of September, the company's Global Head of Music Lyor Cohen announced in a blog post Wednesday. The number includes trial runs, but is a substantial increase from the 50 million mark it hit in September 2021.

By comparison, Spotify reported 195 million paid subscribers -- including those who trialed the service -- at the end of September, and it predicted its paying membership will eclipse 200 million by the end of the year. 

YouTube is the world's biggest online video source, with more than 2 billion monthly users. Despite its massive scale, YouTube's music service struggled for years to break through, as it went through more than one transformation. Now reporting peppy growth of 30 million new members in a year, YouTube's offerings -- a Spotify-like music service plus upsell to a Premium package unlocks extra perks on YouTube itself -- appear to be hitting a stride. 

Cohen touted the platform's international collaborations with companies such as Samsung, Vodafone and SoftBank for expanding the services' reach. He also noted how the addition of features like afterparties and exclusive livestreams to YouTube Premium helped make it more attractive for users. And by cueing fans to engage in extended listening sessions or to download content, Cohen said the service has made it easier for them to enjoy their experience.

A YouTube Music premium subscription costs $10 per month and allows users to stream and download music without ads. Its background play feature enables you to play music while using other apps or while your screen is off. YouTube Premium includes ad-free access to the video platform, YouTube Music and YouTube Originals -- with the option to download or use background play for videos and music. A membership runs $12 a month, but you can sign up for a student or family plan.