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.