During an “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” session on the Youtube Music Help site recently, a Community Manager for Team Youtube took time to answer some questions directly. In addition to Canada getting free background listening soon, the Youtube Music app will soon restrict non-paying members to audio-only content. For those who haven’t tried yet, you can currently toggle on music videos from Youtube on compatible songs in the service.
Last week, we shared with our YouTube Music listeners (blog post) that background play will soon be available in Canada, free of charge, beginning on November 3, 2021. Alongside this update, some features will become exclusive to YouTube Music Premium listeners, such as on-demand music selection and unlimited skips. These changes are coming to Canada first, and we’ll keep everyone posted on global expansion plans – stay tuned.Youtube Music Help
This all means that those who don’t pay the monthly fee will be able to listen to music with their screens clicked off using background listening (Canada first), shuffle personalized mixes, access music based on their mood (Thanks, Songza!), and explore millions of songs with ads that periodically interrupt their experience.
Premium subscribers will be able to listen to songs on-demand, watch the aforementioned Youtube music videos that accompany a song and skip songs with no limit to the number of times they can do so – all without ads. The only major change here is that free users will be able to listen without having to leave the app open and their screens active.
I personally don’t see anything wrong with this. Sure, it makes sense to keep video capabilities in Youtube Music from a purely technical standpoint since they still have ads if you’re not a Premium subscriber, but the fact that Youtube Music is a destination for, well, music makes it perfectly acceptable for the company to clean up and tighten features based on where they ought to appear, in my opinion.
I don’t know a single person who’s used Music to watch videos – they always just go to Youtube to see music videos. As a Premium subscriber, I sometimes turn on the video mode for songs, and I benefit from seeing deeper meaning or production value in my playlists, but it’s only occasional. One day, I believe that these experiences will be more integrated than they are even today, and that’s saying something, so this is probably not that big of a deal. Ultimately, it means that free users are gaining back a feature they had way back in the day, so it’s a win-win.