YouTube Music review

YouTube Music highlights

YouTube Music review

YouTube Music hasn’t existed for very long, but the service already stands out among other streaming services thanks to its extensive collection of music videos.

Launched in June 2018, YouTube Music is the youngest of all the major streaming music services on the market. The platform reportedly has about six million subscribers, which is small in comparison to other streaming services. Google confirmed that YouTube Music will eventually take over as the company’s sole music streaming service, which will inflate subscriber numbers as users move from one service to another. There’s no official report on exactly how many songs and music videos YouTube Music features.

A comparison of YouTube Music plans

All YouTube Music plans provide access to the service’s full library via desktop and Android or iOS devices. 

YouTube Music Premium YouTube Music Premium Student YouTube Music Premium Family
Monthly price$9.99/mo.$4.99/mo.$14.99/mo.
Free trial length3 months30 days30 days
Number of songs30 million30 million30 million
Number of users115
Offline listeningYesYesYes

Is YouTube Music worth it?

As far as price is concerned, YouTube Music is comparable with other major competitors, such as Pandora and Spotify, both of which start at $9.99/mo.

Is YouTube Music the right streaming service for you?

YouTube Music is radically different than other music streaming services—it’s video focused rather than sound focused. If you prefer a full audio and video experience rather than just listening, it’s a prime choice.

The service is already the default music streaming app on Android devices, making it easy to set up. When Google Play Music merges with YouTube Music, representatives have confirmed that the platform will give you the same large cloud library to store downloaded songs. If you’re considering Google Play Music, you might want to jump right into YouTube Music instead.

User experience

The mobile app, desktop web app and browser player all feature a basic interface organized into a grid of buttons. The desktop web app is similar to the web player but exists in its own window without the browser interface around it. Based on your selections from a menu of musical artists, your home page features suggested artists, music videos, live performances, hit songs, recommendations based on moods and more. Once you click on a track, the app creates a queue of songs that’ll play automatically. Giving songs a thumbs up or thumbs down helps curate what you see featured. You can also share your favorite tunes via email or social media.

Only one authorized person can use the free or premium YouTube Music version. Subscribing to the YouTube Music Premium Family plan provides access for up to five users. It’s also important to consider that the free YouTube Music plan is only available with Android and iOS mobile devices and desktops. Upgrade to a YouTube Premium plan and you can listen on TV-connected devices and Google smart speakers. 

Device compatibility

YouTube Music is compatible with the following devices:

  • All Android and Android mobile devices and desktops
  • Chromecast audio (YouTube Premium only)
  • Game consoles with the YouTube app (YouTube Premium only)
  • Google-connected smart speakers, like Google Home (YouTube Premium only)
  • Smart TVs with the YouTube app (YouTube Premium only)
  • Sonos speakers
  • TV streaming devices, like Roku (YouTube Premium only)

YouTube Music features

In addition to offline listening and being the default service on Android devices, YouTube Music gives you an unrivaled music video library and plenty of useful features. 

Videos galore

YouTube Music provides one of the most extensive collections of music videos, including official, unofficial and lyric videos.

Customized playlists

The service automatically adds songs you like to Your Mixtape and includes music you might enjoy in your interactive playlist.  

Lyrics-based search

Don’t know the name of a song? As long as you can remember a short refrain, YouTube Music will find it with this unique feature that lets you search for songs by lyrics.

Minimal data use

Download up to 500 tracks to listen to offline. This is especially helpful for those with limited data plans.

Locked screen playback

If you choose YouTube Premium, you’ll have the ability to enjoy continuous tunes even when your phone is locked, or you’re using other apps.

Switch between Google accounts

Want one listening style for work and another at home? Use the drop-down settings menu to toggle between Google accounts.

Simple interface

The desktop and app are both uncomplicated thanks to a grid-style interface and playlists that are accessible front and center.

What to listen to on YouTube Music

Music videos are the biggest reason to tune in to YouTube Music. You’ll find just about everything on this platform, from a live performance of Radiohead’s Karma Police to a documentary on Johnny Cash. The platform also features viral hits, such as Childish Gambino’s This Is America. YouTube Music doesn’t currently stream podcasts or allow music uploads. 

The takeaway

If you love watching music videos and live performances, then YouTube Music is one of the top options. Aside from the availability of videos, the rest of its features are on par with other services. There’s a fair amount of fluctuation when it comes to YouTube music’s sound quality since the library includes bootlegs, live recordings and other unique selections.  The Mixtape feature comes close to rivaling Pandora’s unique algorithm with its ability to predict what you’ll enjoy. Until YouTube Music adopts Google Play Music’s cloud locker functionality, you might consider a different service if you have a large music library of your own.

Shahrzad Warkentin

Shahrzad Warkentin is a lifestyle writer specializing in entertainment and pop culture. She has spent the last ten years crafting content, reviews and news stories on film, television, music and books among other topics. After receiving her B.A. in Screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University, she began her writing career in film and television. Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, she loves hitting the beach with her family and catching up on Netflix.