It’s been more than three years since YouTube Premium launched. Formerly known as YouTube Red, the service is now integrated with YouTube Music Premium and offers a host of features for a better viewing and listening experience. However, even though the service has matured over the years, YouTube Premium hasn’t exactly exploded in popularity. The relentless sign-up pop-ups certainly didn’t help, but there are solid arguments in favor of subscribing.
So, if you haven’t tried Premium yet, we’re here to tell you the good, the bad and the bad about YouTube Premium.
What is YouTube Premium?
YouTube is the largest video-sharing platform on the web, with tons of free content for your viewing pleasure. So, why is there a premium version, and what does it offer?
YouTube Premium is a paid subscription service of the platform. It replaced YouTube Red and comes with several benefits, most notably removing all ads from YouTube services. Here’s everything you get with YouTube Premium:
- ad free videos – No annoying ads break on any content on any device you’re logged into your premium account for.
- background play — You can listen to long videos, podcasts and music by locking your screen.
- offline playback – You can download videos to watch offline later.
- YouTube Music Premium – Dedicated music app and ad-free access to millions of song lists.
- YouTube Original – Access to ad-free original and exclusive premium content.
It’s worth noting that although YouTube used to be exclusive to the original Premium subscribers, many are now available to everyone. Granted, the only way to watch them ad-free is with YouTube Premium.
How much is YouTube Premium?
Surely by now, you’ve seen the pop-up for a free month’s trial of YouTube Premium, but how much does it cost once the trial is over?
There are three different plans available, with the Standard plan costing $11.99 per month. There is also a more expensive family plan for $17.99 and a special student plan for $6.99. There is no annual plan available.
Of course, you’ll need to show some student verification for the cheaper plan. The family plan supports up to five family members in a single household, making it the best value for those with children or large families. Here are those plans again in a nutshell:
- standard: $11.99/month
- Family: $17.99/month
- student: $6.99/month
what we like
If you regularly watch content on YouTube, most premium membership benefits are as good as they seem. To begin with, it’s hard to overstate how great the ad-free experience is. Many of us use ad blocker on our PC, but it is very hard to avoid ads on mobile. With the implementation of double pre-roll and non-skippable ads, the ad-free experience of YouTube Premium is a must for anyone who spends a significant amount of time on the platform.
It’s also much more enjoyable to watch your favorite creators on your TV’s big screen without any interruptions while casting or using the Smart TV app. The experience is virtually ad-free: there’s no trailer for YouTube Originals or anything like that.
However, speaking of creators, YouTube Premium has another huge benefit that hasn’t been mentioned enough: revenue sharing. A premium membership supports the YouTubers you love because YouTube shares a portion of the revenue for each view they receive from subscribers. It also reportedly includes monetized videos.
However, the good things do not end here. To say the least, the accessibility of premium YouTube Music included in your subscription is undermined. The service has a huge catalog of songs. I was personally able to find every obscure song I could think of. Even though some songs weren’t available as files, I could still listen to music videos with my screen locked.
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The variety of genres and artists will please even the most snobby music lovers. For them, a YouTube Premium subscription just for the tunes might be worth it. It only costs $2 more per month than Spotify Premium, with additional YouTube perks to boot.
What needs to be improved in YouTube Premium
When YouTube Red first launched, it seemed like all marketing focused on original content. All your favorite YouTubers but with a big budget — who doesn’t want that? Unfortunately, YouTube is still not distributed in this area. Nowadays, most basics are not exclusive to premium customers. You can watch them with ads on a free account, but the quality seems to be deteriorating. The platform seems to be pushing YouTubers aside in favor of celebrities.
This is unfortunate because it seems like YouTube is wasting the potential of its existing creators. We have already seen how well some of them can do with big budgets. mind field, a documentary series by Michael Vasos, is the perfect example. Vsauce was already renowned for its engaging scientific content, and the Mind Field allowed Michael to dive deeper into issues by conducting experiments, interviewing experts, and more. It made for an interesting and entertaining series.
Today, YouTube can easily replicate its success by collaborating with a channel like Kurzgesagt, Crash Course, or even Angry Video Game Nerd. Instead, we have series like Celebrity Substitute and Create Together With Me with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Even if you don’t mind celebrity videos, sometimes original videos are easily missed. Although I’ve subscribed to Premium for a few months, I rarely get recommendations for Basic, and few, if any, have popped up on my home page. It’s a shame because some hidden gems like The Boy Band Con Documentary are highly recommended. The Origins tab isn’t designed well either, which makes it difficult to find new things to watch.
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Lastly, the other major quality that some users have with YouTube Premium is its price. If you’re not taking advantage of YouTube Music Premium, it’s not worth spending $11.99 per month for an ad-free experience and some original content. Especially after spending a decade or more watching most of it for free.
Is YouTube Premium Worth It?
If you’re looking for a Netflix or Hulu alternative, the answer is no. However, if you want a better music streaming service and a better viewing experience on YouTube, you can’t go wrong with YouTube Premium. Not only does it make videos more enjoyable for you as a viewer, but it also supports your favorite creators.
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So, if you haven’t tried it yet, don’t ignore it and test the service for yourself the next time you see the annoying prompt. You may find that you really like it.