YouTube is launching its own music streaming service this month
The popular video platform has its sights set firmly on Spotify.
YouTube might be most commonly known for its cat videos and movie trailers, but it's also home to a thriving music scene. Artists big and small use the platform to share their music with the online world, and according to YouTube over a billion people a month use it to get their groove on.
In response to this hunger for new music, YouTube has decided to branch out from its video roots by launching its own music streaming service called, funnily enough, YouTube Music. Rolling out on 23 May, YouTube Music will combine YouTube's existing library of music videos with a new catalogue of official songs, albums, playlists and radio stations. All this will be accessed through a redesigned mobile app and desktop media player better suited to handle audio-only tracks as well as regular music videos.
Like Spotify, Apple Music and other competing services, YouTube Music will feature personalised recommendations to help you find new music. On the YouTube Music home screen, you'll find suggestions based not only on your listening habits, but also on where you are and what you're doing. Using your phone's GPS and your personal calendar (assuming you've given YouTube access to it), YouTube Music might recommend blood-pumping beats before your weekly gym session, or some soothing tunes to accompany your daily commute.
YouTube is also taking cues from Spotify with its pricing model. A free, ad-supported version of YouTube Music will be available to everyone, but you can also opt for YouTube Music Premium to get rid of the ads for $11.99 a month. The premium subscription will also let you play music in the background through the mobile app as well as download tunes for offline play.
If you happen to have a Google Play Music or YouTube Red subscription, you're in luck as YouTube is bundling in a free YouTube Music Premium membership with either of those services. It's also renaming YouTube Red to YouTube Premium and bumping up the price to $14.99 a month for new customers. However, existing YouTube Red subscribers will continue to enjoy their cheaper $11.99 a month fees.
For more information, check out our guide to YouTube Music.