YouTube Red: Pay $9.99 for Site-Wide Ad-Free Experience
Today Google is rolling its Play Music on-demand service into a new $9.99 subscription for ad-free viewing across all of YouTube that will launch October 28th in the US and globally soon. However, iOS users will be charged $12.99 to cover Apple’s in-app purchase tax. The new service replaces Google Music Key and gives user a simple way to instantly watch or listen to YouTube video and Play Music content on-demand without ads. YouTube Red won’t be its own app, just a tier on existing YouTube and Google accounts.
YouTube Red will split subscription revenue with the rights holders of content people consume through the service. YouTube managed to sign-on most of the independent creators, record labels, TV networks, and movie studios to the program. A YouTube exec told reporters at today’s launch event that YouTube is paying out “the vast, vast majority of revenue”.
Still, there’s bound to be some creators who feel slighted by the deal or coerced into it. And any partnered creator who doesn’t sign the deal for YouTube Red will have their videos on the ad-free old-school YouTube hidden from view. That’s pretty harsh.
Today YouTube also announced a new YouTube Music app dedicated to music-related video streaming coming sometime soon. It will be free with ads, or ad-free as part of YouTube Red. It’s designed to be easy to hit play and sit back. YouTube says the Music app will lead users through a “personalized journey” through the YouTube music catalog. In that way it sounds a little like Pandora for music videos.
The YouTube Music app follows the company’s strategy around YouTube Gaming and YouTube Kids. YouTube is just too big to be able to offer the necessary discovery features for all the different niche demographics that use it. The different flavors of apps mean everything doesn’t have to be crammed into one bloated app.
Originals, Offline And Background Play
To be clear, paying $9.99 for either YouTube Red or Google Play will get you the other service too, so subscriptions go both ways.
With YouTube Red, you’ll be able to save videos and playlists to watch offline, and even have YouTube make you an Offline Mixtape based on your taste. YouTube Red will also offer Background Play, so you can close the app while continuing to listen to the audio of whatever you were watching as you use your phone.
The service makes a lot more sense than Google having a slew of limited subscription services with restrictions as to what you could access. The company says that watching the YouTube Music Key beta, it learned that users didn’t want to be told what was considered “music” and would be ad-free, and what wasn’t.
At $9.99, YouTube Red could give Spotify and Apple Music a run for their money because it doesn’t just offer on-demand music, but everything on YouTube without those annoying pre-roll and pop-over ads. While Apple Music and Spotify are trying to make strides into video, YouTube has been king for a decade. If the future is a subscription marrying all media types together, YouTube Red might make its competitors green with content envy.