It has been over two years since YouTube Premium launched. First known as YouTube Red, the service is now associated with YouTube Music Premium and offers a bunch of benefits for a better viewing and listening experience. However, while the service has matured over the years, YouTube Premium hasn’t really exploded in popularity. The relentless signup pop-ups certainly haven’t helped, but there is a strong case for subscribing.
So if you haven’t tried Premium yet, we’re here to tell you the pros, cons, and downsides of YouTube Premium.
What is YouTube Premium?
Youtube is the largest video sharing platform on the web with lots of free content for your viewing pleasure. So why is there a premium version and what does it offer?
YouTube Premium is the platform’s paid subscription service. It replaced YouTube Red and has a number of benefits including removing all ads from YouTube services. Here’s all you get with YouTube Premium:
- Ad-free videos – no annoying advertising cuts on any content on any device connected to your Premium account.
- Background game – you can listen to long videos, podcasts and music with your locked screen.
- Offline reading – you can download videos for later offline viewing.
- YouTube Music Premium – ad-free access to the dedicated music application and its catalog of millions of songs.
- YouTube Originals – Originals without advertising and access to exclusive Premium content.
It should be noted that while YouTube Originals was once only for Premium subscribers, many are now available to everyone. Granted, the only way to watch them ad-free is with YouTube Premium.
How much does YouTube Premium cost?
Surely you’ve seen the pop-ups for a free month YouTube Premium trial, 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 at $ 17.99 and a special student plan at $ 6.99. There is no annual plan available.
You will, of course, need to show a student verification for the cheapest plan. The family plan supports up to five family members in the same household, making it the best value for money for those with children or larger families. Here are those plans again at a glance:
- Standard: $ 11.99 / month
- Family: $ 17.99 / month
- Student: $ 6.99 / month
What we like
Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
If you regularly watch content on YouTube, most of the benefits of the Premium membership are as good as they look. For starters, it’s hard to underestimate the quality of the ad-free experience. Many of us use ad blockers on our PCs, but ads are much harder to escape on mobile. With the implementation of dual pre-roll and unskipabble ads, the YouTube Premium ad-free experience is pretty much a necessity for anyone who spends a lot of time on the platform.
Watch your favorite designers on the big screen of your TV when foundry or using the Smart TV app is also much more pleasant without constant interruptions. The experience is also ad-free: there are no trailers for the YouTube originals or anything like that.
Speaking of creators, however, YouTube Premium has another big benefit that isn’t mentioned enough – revenue sharing. A Premium membership supports the YouTubers you love because YouTube shares a portion of the revenue for every view they receive from subscribers. This also includes demonetized videos.
But the good things don’t end there. The access to YouTube Music Premium included with your subscription is underestimated to say the least. The service has a huge catalog of songs. I personally was able to find all the obscure songs I could think of. Even though some were not available as song files, I could still listen to the video clips with my locked screen.
The variety of genres and artists would appeal to even the most posh music fans. For them, a YouTube Premium subscription might be worth it just for the music. It only costs $ 2 more per month than Spotify Premium, with additional YouTube perks to boot.
What YouTube Premium needs to improve
When YouTube Red first launched, all marketing seemed to be focused on original content. All your favorite YouTubers but with bigger budgets – who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, YouTube still hasn’t delivered in this area. Nowadays, most of the originals are not exclusive to Premium subscribers. They can be viewed with ads on a free account, but the quality seems to be deteriorating. The platform also appears to be pushing YouTubers aside in favor of celebrities.
It’s a shame because YouTube seems to be wasting the potential of its existing creators. We have already seen how some of them could be successful with larger budgets. Spirit field, a documentary series by Michael de Vsauce, is the perfect example. Vsauce was already well known for its fascinating science content, and Mind Field allowed Michael to delve deeper into the issues by conducting experiments, interviewing experts, and more. It made for an intriguing and entertaining series.
Today, YouTube could easily repeat its success by collaborating with channels like Kurzgesagt, Crash Course, or even someone like Angry Video Game Nerd. Instead, we have shows like Celebrity Substitute and Create Together With Me with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Even if you don’t mind celebrity videos, the originals are sometimes easy to miss. Although I’ve been a Premium subscriber for a few months, I rarely get recommendations for Originals, and few, if any, have appeared on my homepage. It’s a shame because there are hidden gems like The Boy Band Con documentary, which I highly recommend. The Originals tabs themselves don’t have the best design either, making it hard to find new things to look at.
Finally, the other big issue that some users may have with YouTube Premium is its price. If you’re not enjoying YouTube Music Premium, it’s hard to justify spending $ 11.99 per month for an ad-free experience and original content. Especially after spending a decade or more watching most of them for free.
Is YouTube Premium Worth It?
If you are looking for a Netflix or Hulu substitute, the answer is no. However, if you want a more than decent music streaming service and better YouTube viewing experience, you can’t go wrong with YouTube Premium. It not only makes the videos more enjoyable for you as a viewer, but it also supports your favorite creators.
So if you haven’t tried it yet, next time you see the annoying prompt, don’t ignore it and test the service for yourself. You might find that you actually like her.