YouTube Music in Australia: What you need to know
Australian pricing, availability and key features for Google's new music and video streaming platform.
It had been rumoured for some time, but Google has officially announced that it's rebranding its subscription service formally known as YouTube Red into YouTube Music and YouTube Premium, two subscription services set to arrive in Australia from next week.
What is YouTube Music?
YouTube Music is another music streaming service, designed to compete with the likes of Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, using YouTube as its base. According to Google, when it launches, it will do so with an all-new desktop experience and mobile client designed for music and pre-installed with "thousands" of playlists, including Australian artists.
Subscribers to YouTube Music will be able to listen to ad-free music, as well as download tracks for offline playback, or have the player minimised for background playback.
What is YouTube Premium?
YouTube Premium is the upper tier of the new subscription strategy and the effective replacement service for the existing YouTube Red offering.
Alongside all the features of YouTube Music, subscribers will also get ad-free video streaming, downloads, background play and access to YouTube originals such as the recently launched Cobra Kai.
When can I get YouTube Music in Australia?
Both YouTube Music and YouTube Premium will launch in Australia on 23 May 2018. Allowing for the international dateline, that's the same date as its US launch. Although that does mean it is quite likely it will be available at some unusual time here to line up with US timing.
How much will YouTube Music cost?
A monthly YouTube Music subscription will cost $11.99 in Australia, while YouTube Premium will have a slight (ahem) price premium, at $14.99 per month. There's no sign as yet of any kind of "family" pricing, and it's not clear how many devices you'll be able to use or what download restrictions may apply.
What about Google Play Music?
Google Play Music is still around for now, and if you're subscribed to that, you'll get access to YouTube Premium, in the same way as you do now to YouTube Red services. Google's eventual plan appears to be retiring the Google Play Music brand in favour of YouTube Music/YouTube Premium, but it hasn't set a terribly specific timeframe for when that might happen.
I'm flat broke. Can I get YouTube Music for free?
Actually, yes. The YouTube Music platform will be available on an ad-supported basis if all you want to do is listen. Rather obviously you won't get download privileges or ad-free playback if you don't give Google some money for the service, but then you can do that with regular YouTube and a little search patience anyway.
If you want access to YouTube Premium content, you will have to pay.
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