• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Review: YouTube Premium including YouTube Premium Music Service

StevenEleven

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
300
Likes
487
#1
First what I regard as the downside to YouTube Premium: You are subjecting yourself to even more data collecting by the Big Four tech companies and handing them over an even larger proportion of your cash-money.

Second, my editorial perspective: I have become a streaming service first consumer of music (as opposed to purchasing download files or CDs or other physical media), with rare exceptions where there is a hole in the catalog and I don’t have any media. And I am a music first and audio quality second person, within reason.

The next thing is, if you are interested in YouTube Music, just pay your $12 bucks a month for YouTube Premium (or $18 for a family account so everyone gets their own, up to a family of 6) if you are going to use YouTube Music. If you pay the $12 a month, you’ll get free downloads, the ability to have the music play in the background on your device (works great on iPad, and can stream to any Airplay or Bluetooth device), and no ads for both music and videos. You can get just YouTube Music for $10 a month if you want but you lose an awful lot for those $2 a month. You also get full access to the full paid version of Google Play Music, while it continues to exist. This includes the ability to upload up to 50,000 songs if they are not in the Google Play music catalog, and this feature is supposed to move on over to YouTube Music soon.

I am typing on my iPad while YouTube Music streams by AirPlay from my iPad in the background right now. Graphics and information on the music are appearing up on my TV screen one way or another. I think one way or another you can get it to work with just about any device.

Music streaming is reportedly at 256 kbps AAC once you pay for either YouTube Music or YouTube Premium. 256 kbps is 100 percent okay by me sound quality wise. If you are going via AirPlay I believe the 256 AAC sound quality is maintained fully (as opposed to possibly being subject to Bluetooth compression).

The straight-up music catalog is pretty much your standard 30 million songs-plus of Spotify, Apple, etc. I’ve found the major music services to have increasingly similar and small holes in their catalogs. There’s also a really big music video selection. It’s pretty delightful when this thing pulls up a mixtape of videos it thinks you might like. And there’s also every live music concert or out of print LP or CD that’s up on YouTube. For me this fills just about any hole in the music and commercial video streaming service catalog, of course subject to the amateur uploader’s sound quality and how YouTube treats it after that.

For many, many areas in the service, there is an i button on the left and three dots on the right that uncover a huge feature set. Create radio from the current song, download, go to album, the stuff you would expect on Spotify, plus some more. Also if you give the screen a little press or do whatever you have to do on a particular device, you’ll get a selection of ways to stream through an Airplay button on the bottom (at least on the iPad) and a Google streaming type symbol on the upper right. There are also mixtape features, cookie cutter radio stations, new release sections, etc. Click on the square symbol that would normally be the full screen symbol in YouTube and the screen morphs into different formats depending where you are.

I am surprised at how good this service is for me. To go through the whole feature set would probably take over 100 pages and put you to sleep. There are additional features explicitly planned for the near future. I’ll certainly never use all of the features. The depth does not clutter the screen. It takes a little getting used to as it’s a bit of a paradigm shift for a music service, but for my preferences and uses it offers a lot more than the other music streaming services.

So that’s the overview. I’m not a professional reviewer. If you want something more polished or to get down in the weeds there is lots and lots of reading at Android Central, centered around the below-linked very recent review. For many people there may be a free one-month trial period.

https://www.androidcentral.com/youtube-music
 
Last edited:

BillG

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 12, 2018
Messages
1,225
Likes
1,352
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
#2
Although they've a toggle in the app for music only streaming, it still doesn't have the ability to stream to a Chromecast Audio, just a Chromecast Video. That's a fail in my book for a music streaming service.
 

StevenEleven

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
300
Likes
487
#4
On my iPad anyway what you say appears not to be entirely true--If I am in the actual Youtube Music app on the iPad and signed in through a YouTube Premium subscription and I hit the chromecast casting button on the YouTube Music app interface I get the option to stream to 12 different devices around the house that have Chromecast built in, including several audio-only devices (family of 5 here). I just streamed to my wife's Google Home smart speaker for a while to make sure it worked--it works fine.

That said, most of the music in my house gets around by AirPlay so I don’t have that much experience with Chromecast. :)

Although they've a toggle in the app for music only streaming, it still doesn't have the ability to stream to a Chromecast Audio, just a Chromecast Video. That's a fail in my book for a music streaming service.
 
Last edited:

StevenEleven

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
300
Likes
487
#6
Just want to follow up here—the Youtube Music service continues to be very interesting and highly enjoyable—however it does raise my eyebrows a little. Now and then some of the mixtape music choices it makes are obviously based on YouTube videos I watched months or even years ago on YouTube. It reflects an underlying record of my viewed YouTube videos that only Google would develop and store off in a corner of the inter qwebs somewhere. It reminds me what a powerful collection of data Google must have for all of us and each of us.

Also I was joking around on another forum the other day posting YouTube videos of Barry Manilow and ABBA and Meghan Trainor and Rod Stewart (let’s just call it revenge pop) and it was fairly easy to disabuse it of the idea that I like most of that stuff but it is very hard to convince it that I am not all that interested in ABBA. And now I am starting to think that maybe some of ABBA was sort of okay :oops:
 

Wombat

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Messages
5,043
Likes
3,567
Location
Australia
#7
Just want to follow up here—the Youtube Music service continues to be very interesting and highly enjoyable—however it does raise my eyebrows a little. Now and then some of the mixtape music choices it makes are obviously based on YouTube videos I watched months or even years ago on YouTube. It reflects an underlying record of my viewed YouTube videos that only Google would develop and store off in a corner of the inter qwebs somewhere. It reminds me what a powerful collection of data Google must have for all of us and each of us.

Also I was joking around on another forum the other day posting YouTube videos of Barry Manilow and ABBA and Meghan Trainor and Rod Stewart (let’s just call it revenge pop) and it was fairly easy to disabuse it of the idea that I like most of that stuff but it is very hard to convince it that I am not all that interested in ABBA. And now I am starting to think that maybe some of ABBA was sort of okay :oops:

Love or hate ABBA, their whole product was very well crafted.

The Book

Blame or credit Molly and Australia for them getting on the road to success. It was a bit like Beatlemania, here.

Confession: I have the ABBA Gold and More ABBA Gold CDs in my 'best of' CD section. :facepalm:
 
Last edited:

StevenEleven

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
300
Likes
487
#8
Anyway, onward with tacking on to this review of YouTube Premium with YouTube Music. It’s great for music excavation, or getting an historical perspective on music. For example I got a much deeper understanding of the development of jazz and the Latin influence of jazz and the history of early film and recordings from 1895-1910 through the music and video service. This the other music services will not do for you. It can change the way you listen to music. And you can use it as a jumping off point for other reading. For example, all of this was going on while the magic brew that became jazz was evolving from its primordial ooze:

1905:



1909:



1915:

 
Last edited:

StevenEleven

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
300
Likes
487
#9
And to continue my meandering on YouTube Premium with YouTube Music:

One thing I forgot to mention was that when you are in the YouTube Premium Music app, if there is both a conventional music recording and a video of reputable pedigree for a piece of music you have pulled up, if you tap on the screen (at least on the iPad) at the top you get a button for music and a button for video and you can choose or toggle between the two. Pretty cool.

Now two things I have found where Youtube Premium with YouTube Music likely does not quite live up to Spotify or Apple Music: First, the sophistication of the music discovery features. Apple Music and especially Spotify have an uncanny way of pulling up things you have never heard before and are a little adventurous but that (at least I) have a pretty good chance of liking. YouTube Music for all of the listener history they have on tap and the sophistication of its search engine is still relatively crude in this respect.

Another thing I noticed was that while people on this forum were digging up the 2015 BIS recording of Ravel conducted by Yannick (I would butcher the last name) it was found on Amazon’s for pay streaming music service, Apple Music, Spotify, a classical only (for pay per recording?) music service, and eventually on Tidal (is it really that hard to search in Tidal??), but not on YouTube Music. I do not know if this one-off instance represents a more general presence of holes in the stand-alone music catalog.

Now it did pull up some cool stuff on YouTube, like this:


and sheet music along with a recording, and video of parts of the actual ballet. So it can again help with addressing the music at a deeper or more full level.
 
Last edited:

JJB70

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 17, 2018
Messages
2,022
Likes
4,156
Location
Milton Keynes, England
#10
I am an old fart and still prefer to buy a CD then rip to FLAC in the case of the music I really like . However I do enjoy using YouTube for casual listening and trying new music and for stuff like audio gear and tech videos.
 

StevenEleven

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
300
Likes
487
#11
I am an old fart and still prefer to buy a CD then rip to FLAC in the case of the music I really like . However I do enjoy using YouTube for casual listening and trying new music and for stuff like audio gear and tech videos.
Another thing you can do with YouTube Premium with YouTube Music (with no ads as you surf around intently in YouTube):

One of my favorite drummers has always been Jo Jones. I wonder what he looked like in his day when he was a star in Count Basie’s big band? A lot like this:


So what if I wanted to hear him on his second to last album, a few years before he died but was still going strong, playing with a lot of the same guys as in that big band, at a time when the better recordings were truly “hifi”? What would those guys sound like? What if that album was now totally out of print? It’d sound a bit like this I’d say (but this is an LP rip, not the later reissued CD, also out of print):


Sounds good!

So I purchased a used copy of the CD for $8 on Amazon. (A new one would have cost about $136, and then you take the wrapper off so you can actually hear it and it’s worth $8. Crazy world.) Nice mid-1970s hi fi sound reissued on CD! Now I ripped it to 256 AAC, but nothing would stop you from ripping to FLAC. ;)
 
Last edited:

Similar threads

Top Bottom