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YouTube: Everything you need to know

In February 2005, a small company by the name of YouTube was founded. YouTube was trying something new by giving people a free, easy-to-use platform for uploading videos, and a little over a year later, it was purchased by Google.

While YouTube continues to be the largest and most popular user-uploaded video site around, it's since expanded into the markets of music streaming, live television programming, and even creating original content similar to Netflix and Hulu.

It can be difficult to keep track of everything the YouTube brand is attached to these days, so to help keep you in the loop, here's everything you need to know.


No matter what new ventures YouTube decides to tackle, the company's bread and butter will always be its main YouTube service for user-created content.

Anyone can upload videos to YouTube, and with enough hard work and dedication, make money on them, too. You can subscribe to channels/users you're particularly fond of, search for specific videos, and catch up with the most popular videos that are currently trending.

You can access YouTube just about anywhere, be it your Android phone, computer, or even a TV.

YouTube has always been free to use, and while there are paid versions we'll dive into in just a minute, the main service itself can be accessed without spending a dime (as long as you're okay with advertisements before your videos).

YouTube app for Android: Everything you need to know!

YouTube Music

In an effort to compete with the likes of Apple Music and Spotify, Google's using its YouTube brand to take them head-on with YouTube Music.

YouTube Music follows in the footsteps of its competitors with a price tag of $9.99/month, and for that price, you get access to unlimited on-demand streaming, curated playlists, offline downloads, ad-free music videos, and plenty more.

The end goal is to have YouTube Music eventually replace Google Play Music, and to ensure that transition process is as seamless as can be, Google's confirmed that all of Play Music's best features will eventually come over to YouTube Music — including a digital locker for storing all of your locally owned songs!

YouTube Music began to officially roll out on June 18 to the countries that were part of its Early Access program, in addition to expanding to 12 all-new locations such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and more.

YouTube Music: Everything you need to know!

YouTube Premium

If you're already paying $9.99/month for YouTube Music, you might as well throw in another two dollars and get YouTube Premium, formerly known as YouTube Red.

YouTube Premium is a subscription service that costs $11.99/month, and in addition to full access to YouTube Music, you also get ad-free videos on YouTube, background playback, and the ability to watch YouTube Originals.

This basically gives you the experience previously found with YouTube Red, and even though it now costs a couple bucks more each month, is still a tremendous value. It took a while for YouTube Premium to actually launch, but as of June 18, the service has officially replaced YouTube Red in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and more.

What is YouTube Premium? Everything you need to know!

YouTube TV

Last but not least, the YouTube brand is also used to offer an Internet-based live television service via YouTube TV.

YouTube TV costs $40/month, giving you access to more than 60 channels with local sports/news, cloud DVR, and the ability to watch on up to three screens at a time.

You can watch YouTube TV from your Android or iOS device, computer, or right on your TV through a number of smart TV apps (such as Roku, Android TV, Xbox One, and more).

YouTube TV costs a bit more than competing services such as Sling TV and Philo, but for folks invested in the Google ecosystem that want to supplement their live television shows with YouTube programming, too, YouTube TV is still worth checking out.

YouTube TV: Everything you need to know

How do you use YouTube?

Which YouTube do you use most?

Updated June 28, 2018: Tweaked the YouTube Premium and Music sections now that they've been released.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • One thing I can't figure is how can I listen to YouTube when my phone (S8) is locked? I thought I was able to do this not too long ago. By this I mean I listen to old radio series but when I click the lock button on the S8, YT will stop playing. I don't want to have to have my screen on all day long just to listen to YT. So am I missing something? Is there a setting I need to change? I can listen to Spotify and Pandora all day with the phone locked so I know the "feature" works.
  • You'll need to have YouTube premium to do that so you can enable YouTube to play in the background. Which will allow you to continue playing videos when not in the YouTube app and while the screen is off.
  • This is a feature that has always required a Youtube Red / GPM subscription.
  • YouTube Music has to add the podcast feature. I was most excited about queing my casts with my music. Surprised they didn't integrte more features. I almost thought they would allow for hyperlinks & all similar to the main YouTube app to benefit artists & consumers. How cool would it be to listen to a podcast, open the information section and pull up any songs or YouTube videos referenced in the podcast while listening. There is too much potential that is currently not being used. Mr. Cohen, talk to me.