YouTube launches premium services in the UK
YouTube Red has been a long time coming to the UK. So long, in fact, that it’s undergone a whole round of rebranding before it could cross the Atlantic. But now it’s here, in the form of two tiers of paid YouTube fun: YouTube Premium and YouTube Music.
Let’s start with YouTube Music. As the name suggests, it’s YouTube, but for music, featuring music videos, full album, live performances, covers and so on. If that sounds a bit like YouTube, it kind of is, but contained within its own mobile app – and while you can enjoy an ad-supported version, paying £9.99 per month will free users from ads, allow people to listen in the background and download videos for offline viewing/listening.
YouTube Premium contains all of that, but brings original content from top YouTubers and the highlighted paid perks across the whole of YouTube. In other words, while YouTube Music just lets you download music videos, and listen to music in the background, YouTube Premium brings those features sitewide, for an extra £2 each month.
Both packages are available as a family plan for up to six people at a total cost of either £14.99 or £17.99 per month. You can get a free trial of YouTube Music Premium here, and YouTube Premium here. If you’re a subscriber to Google’s Spotify rival Play Music, we’re told that YouTube Music will be included at your current price – though it’s not clear if new YouTube Music subscribers will be given Google Play Music in kind. We’ve asked for clarification.
It’s an interesting proposition. While YouTube has significantly more content than the likes of Netflix and Amazon, it most definitely is a case of quantity over quality. That’s not YouTube’s fault – it’s strength is that anyone can upload (almost) anything, and 65-years’ worth of content is duly uploaded every day. On one level, that makes it far better value than Netflix’s £7.99 per month, but whether people will pay in sufficient numbers to worry Netflix remains to be seen.
As for YouTube’s content creators, the issue of how they’re paid continues to be the order of the day, and YouTube Premium could theoretically make an impact – and not a moment too soon. With YouTube’s constantly shifting payment criteria making the platform an unstable way of making money, some are beginning to look beyond Google’s walls.