What is the first website that comes to your mind when you want to watch a video or listen to a song that you’ve heard on the radio? We are pretty sure the first website or service that came up in your mind was “YouTube”. YouTube is by far the most visited channel in the world. In fact numbers of YouTube users worldwide in 2019 was 1.68 billion. Sometimes we do encounter a prompt which says, “Sign up for YouTube Premium”.
So, what is “YouTube Premium”? Is it free? If it’s not free, how much does it cost? In this post, we will investigate the service and answer the question – “Is YouTube Premium Worth It?” We will also look at any alternatives which might be available so that it won’t cost you any money.
What is youtube premium?
YouTube Premium or YouTube Red as it was known previously is a subscription-based service by YouTube. YouTube Red was launched in US October 2015 for a monthly fee of US $10. At the time they offered Ad-Free Viewing and Original Content from YouTube’s Top Content Creators which were called “YouTube Originals”.
Number of YouTube Users Worldwide in 2019 were 1.68bnaccording to Statista
In 2018, the service was rebranded as “YouTube Premium” and the price was increased to USD $11.99. However, along with the price increase came a new service bundled for music called YouTube Music. The early adopters, however, keep paying the original $10/month as long as they’re subscribed to the service. As a bonus, recently some subscribers (including myself) received a Google Nest Mini for free as a thank you for subscribing to YouTube Music.
What are the features of youtube premium?
The top features of YouTube Premium are
- Ad-free Videos
- Background Play
- YouTube Music Premium
- YouTube Originals
One of the most annoying aspects of YouTube is ads. It was fine previously when there were just one or two ads at the beginning of the video. However, lately, we see that there are multiple ads in a single video. This is where YouTube Premium comes in. With the service, we can watch millions of videos without any interruptions. When it says Ad-Free, it means No Ads.
There might be occasional sponsored content on videos from some content creators where they might do some brands deals which technically are ads well. This feature is not limited by any device or location. Once you sign up for the service, it is live on all the devices that you are logged into. You need to login to your Google account to which YouTube Premium is associated with.
Download videos to watch Offline
Mobile data is not cheap. Especially if you are not in a country which is named India. We would all love to watch something interesting on YouTube during long commutes on buses and trains. If only there was a way to rectify that. Here’s where the second-best feature of YouTube Premium comes in.
The second best feature of the service is the ability to download videos and watch them on the go. You have an option of downloading the video in standard resolution (360p) or HD resolution (720p). Since you will be watching the videos on a comparatively small phone screen, either the HD or SD resolution should be good enough for you. If you have a playlist, you could download that as well in one go when you get a good Wifi signal.
One search on the internet for best music service and you see that services like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and lesser known services like Tidal come up on top. One thing that common on everyone of these services is that they are subscription based (except Amazon Music which is bundled in with Amazon Prime). There are free tiers but while using the free version you don’t have the same functionality.
With YouTube Premium, you can play the video in the background or also with the screen off. When you pair this feature with the ability to download videos, the possibilites of entertainment become endless. The lastest trend during this pandemic from content creators is to start a Podcast. Most the celebreties and stand up comedians already had podcasts and if they didn’t they’ve started one during the last few months. You can download these podcasts, music playlists or just some random videos which you’d like to watch or listen to and play them in the background.
Instead of paying for apps like Calm which play long hours of white noise or sounds while you sleep, you can browse through an endless selection of videos on YouTube. Just search for instrumental music or sleep music, you would find a host of videos which you might like.
YouTube Music Premium
The fourth feature is a culmination of the above features which truly unlock the potential of YouTube. YouTube Music Premium is an off shoot of YouTube Premium which offers just music and music videos. You can download the seperate app when you signup for the service and based on your prefereces and likes the app offers you a personalised playlist.
Spotify is by far the gold standard when it comes to music. YouTube Music is slowly catching up to it. Just think about it. According to Counterpoint Research, YouTube Music has 6% Global Music Streaming Paid Subscription by Brand Share (In%). YouTube as a platform is open for everyone and it gives a start to a lot of young and talented singers and musicians. Some of those up and coming artists might not come up on Spotify but they come up on YouTube Music. Add to the fact that you can download the music as a video or just the audio file, the deals become just better.
If out of all the features, if YouTube Music is the only feature that appeals to you, then you are in luck. YouTube Music Premium is available just by itself for USD 9.99 per month.
The last premium feature of the website is YouTube Originals. Content by YouTube’s top creators. When you sign on for the service you will get all the YouTube Original Movies and content which is created by content creators. At the moment, there are over 100 shows on YouTube Originals and many more in the works with a focus on documentaries.
You can access these shows and documentaries here. We would be lying if we said YouTube Premium subscription is the only way you can watch these shows. In 2019, YouTube has announced that all of YouTube Originals will become available to watch even if you don’t subscribe. So what’s the catch? Well just like rest of YouTube, there would be ads and if a new series is released all the episodes will not become available all at once to binge. They would be released one by one each week. Whereas for YouTube Premium members, you can binge-watch to your heart’s content.
How much does it cost?
So how popular is YouTube Premium? According to 9to5 Google, YouTube Premium has 20 million subscribers as of Feb 2020. These numbers for paid subscriptions and does not include the free trial subscribers. According to the same article, this number is up from 15 million subscribers from May 2019.
As we had discussed earlier, YouTube Premium costs $11.99 per month (USD). However, you can save with a family plan where you can add 5 more users to your account (Six in total) for $17.99 (USD) per month. If you are a student, you can sign up for the service for $6.99 (USD) per month.
Are there any free alternatives?
If paying money to use YouTube sounds a bit ridiculous to you, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Previously we’ve written a blog which outlined all the ways you can get YouTube Premium for free. However, the article is over 2 years old and needs a bit of an update. But the information in that article and suggestions are still relevant in 2020. The updated article can be found here (coming soon).
If you are watching YouTube on a desktop computer on Chrome or Microsoft Edge browsers, you can download an extension called “Ad Block Plus”. As the name suggests, this extension blocks any ads not only on YouTube but any page that you visit on the internet. This extension is very useful to block out all the ads and also keeps some of the websites from tracking you. You find the extension here if you are using Google Chrome browser and you can find it here if you are the Microsoft Edge browser.
YouTube Vanced App
YouTube Vanced is an app which has the same interface as youtube and it blocked in video ads. Vanced is a play on words where Vanced stands for Advanced but since the app blocks ads, it just reads Vanced. We have been testing the app for almost a week now and are yet to encounter a single in-video ad. You sign in with your Google account just as you would on the official YouTube app.
- Blocks all in video ads
- works with the screen being off
- not a sketchy app which take all your info and routes it through a server off shore
- familiar YouTube UI
- Does not block all ads. You will still find banner ads.
- Does not have the option of downloading videos
- Does not unlock YouTube Originals the same way YouTube Premium does.
How do we install it? You can find the instructions here (coming soon).
Is YouTube Premium worth it?
Short answer. Kind of. Long answer. Depends on what you are looking for. If you hate ads like us and want the ability to download videos and don’t have Spotify or any other music subscription service. Then Yes. It is absolutely worth it. However, downloading is not an option that you want and blocking ads is the only thing you are looking for then Vanced App is the way to go.
If downloading AND blocking ads is a priority, YouTube Premium is definitely WORTH it.