Technophile

YouTube Music and Premium debut in India

Mala Bhargava | Updated on March 13, 2019 Published on March 13, 2019

YouTube Music   -  Screenshot

YouTube Music is both a separate app — available from the PlayStore, App Store and on the Web

Music lovers in India suddenly have more choices than they know what to do with. Spotify, the music app so popular in the US, just launched its India version recently and right on its heels, YouTube has debuted its own music and videos platform in the country, about eight months after it’s been available in the US and some other parts of the world.

YouTube Music is both a separate app — available from the PlayStore, App Store and on the Web — and a part of the regular YouTube app, from where users can reach it with a tap on the Music app tab. YouTube Music is the made-for-music section and has official songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist radios and YouTube’s huge catalog of remixes, live performances, and covers. The biggest differentiators from other services is the strong personalisation.

YouTube Music launches in addition to Google Play Music and Google Play Movies. Along with the new offerings, the options of services to subscribe to can be a little confusing. All the music on YouTube Music is available for free, but there’s a Rs 99 a month YouTube Music Premium subscription which will make the platform ad-free. We have been checking out this model and find the options to play music in the background and download them to the device works very well. Even videos can play in the background with this paid offering, allowing you to continue working on something on the same device or put the phone being used into a pocket without disturbing the playback.

The YouTube Music offering has been culturised to suit India and is not a replica of what is found elsewhere. It will include songs from classics like Tujhe Dekha Toh, to global hits like Kolaveri Di, to recent rap song Apna Time ayega, and videos like “Despacito”, “Lahore”, “Rangamma Mangamma”.

Announcing the launch of YouTube Music in India, Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music, YouTube said,“India is where the multi-lingual music scene thrives. It’s interesting to note how Indian artists have consistently claimed top spots over the last few months in the Global YouTube Top Artists chart. With YouTube Music, we are hoping to bring the best in global and Indian music to millions of fans across India, and give them an immersive music experience, with the magic of music on YouTube.”

T.Jay Fowler, Director of Product Management, Music Products, YouTube said, “We know that India loves watching music videos on YouTube -- be it the vibrancy, choreography, stars and glamour. Music from India has always been so much more than just the audio. Therefore for us, with the launch of YouTube Music, all the emphasis is on the familiar and to make every user experience richer as they start using the service. From recommended music videos, live performances, covers, to new videos -- it’s all here, and only here."

With YouTube Music, the unique proposition is that it will be easier to discover hard-to-find songs and videos as artists tend to share their music. The other powerful feature is based on Google’s ability to use its algorithms to make recommendations for each user. The home screen will dynamically keep adapting to provide recommendations based on the music played before and what the listener is doing such as whether one is in the gym or driving to work — since Google has access to your location. The search is also more powerful than in most services because of the better natural language understanding so one can even search by description or phrases when the title of a song is not remembered. What you have searched for on the main Google search page will feed into YouTube Music as well. Of course, trending songs specific to India and globally will also be accessible.

Paid members can not only download songs, but get an Offline Mixtape which includes a 100 songs automatically prepared from their own favourites.

Subscribers of Google Play Music will get YouTube Music Premium membership as part of their subscription each month. And for them nothing will change -- they will still be able to access all of their purchased music, uploads and playlists in Google Play Music as before. A 3-month introductory offer is on starting now.

YouTube is also offering YouTube Premium to India for ₹129 a month. This will include membership to YouTube Music Premium, and offer an ad-free experience with background play and offline downloads for millions of videos on YouTube, as well as access to all YouTube Originals.

Published on March 13, 2019
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor