YouTube Music, Google’s current music streaming service, serves two purposes: it’s a superior player for YouTube, and it can access the millions of songs available on other music streaming services. Google said earlier this month that the free plan would get the option to play music in the background, but now we’re hearing the bad news: more limits are on the way for free users.
“Some features, such as on-demand song selection and unlimited skips, will become exclusive to YouTube Music Premium subscribers,” the firm noted in a new support page (via Android Police). The removal of on-demand music and unlimited skips aligns YouTube Music with free Spotify subscriptions, which restrict mobile devices from selecting single songs (you can only shuffle albums or playlists) and limit the number of times you can press the skip button. For free accounts, the ability to watch music videos from the service will also be removed.
After the changes take effect, here’s what you’ll be able to do with a free account:
- Play music in the background.
- On shuffle, play tailored mixes.
- Find mood mixes for workouts, commuting, and other activities.
- Look for songs and playlists.
Here’s what you’ll need a premium subscription for:
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- On-demand music listening (e.g. not shuffle)
- Skipping through videos Unlimited
- There are no adverts.
Google says that for free YouTube Music accounts, uploaded songs would still be available on-demand, although it’s unclear if there will be skipping restrictions like there are for regular song content. Google indicated it would begin responding to comments on the help thread at 12 p.m. PST today, but no Google personnel had responded as of the time this piece was published.
The new features will be available in Canada on November 3, the same day that free background playback becomes available. “We’ll keep everyone updated on our global expansion plans,” Google says. In the United States, YouTube Music Premium costs $9.99 per month or $11.99 per month as part of the larger YouTube Premium subscription.