YouTube Premium and Music have officially been launched in India. After Spotify, YouTube
Music is the second major music streaming service to be launched in India this year, in what
is still a competitive and young market.
The YouTube Music app is available for Android, iOS and you can also access the service on the Web. The app is presented in a dark (Black) avatar and there’s no option to change that as of now. The look and feel seems something out of YouTube but with larger fonts and thumbnails, made clearly for music, than videos. As you open the app for the first time, you are asked about your preferred languages and genres. There are three tabs at the bottom – Home, Hotlist, and Library. The app is quite simple to get started, and isn’t complicated to navigate through for a new user. You can check your subscription, settings, etc. by tapping on the Profile photo on the top right corner.
The app gives you different quality options for audio playback, highest being 256kbps AAC, and goes down to 48kbps for slow network usage. There’s an audio only mode where, if you play a video, you only get its audio and no video is played in the player; you can also simply go back or press the Home button on your phone and the app will keep playing the video (or audio) in the background without any hiccups. So, YouTube with background playback for music and videos. You can of course download any song for offline use and also choose the audio quality for the download from Settings; one can download as many as 50,000 tracks. Another feature is its offline mixtape, think of it as curated playlists where the app gives you a bunch of 20 tracks based on your song and genre history and downloads it for your offline playback. Oh, and there’s Chromecast support, so you can play songs on your speakers with Chromecast Audio or on TV that has Google’s Chromecast attached (or built-in).
The catalogue is, fair to say, huge. You would be able to find most of your studio labels and semi-professional as well as indie artists, and even if the tracks aren’t listed, there’s a very good chance YouTube would have its music video, which you can play (or watch) on the app.
YouTube Music is priced at Rs. 99 per month, or Rs. 129 monthly if you bundle in YouTube Premium (previously YouTube Red) that gives you access to YouTube Originals plus completely ad-free YouTube. There’s also an ad supported free Youtube Music plan. You can get a month of free trial to get a feel of the service and maybe compare it to other players like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and homegrown names like Gaana and JioSaavn. The service is definitely worth a try, and that’s not only for its massive collection but also the app’s simple and straight-forward user-interface.