Anyone who uses YouTube regularly likely knows about (and has been tempted by) YouTube Premium. The successor to YouTube Red, YouTube Premium gives you access to ad-free videos, downloads, background play, and other perks.
Basically, it's your best way to avoid all those annoying YouTube ads; it used to give you access to exclusive YouTube Originals, but Google no longer creates those, and all that old content is now free-to-watch.
So is YouTube Premium worth paying for? And are there other benefits to a subscription besides ads, such as YouTube Music? Premium already has 80 million subscribers; here's what you need to know to decide whether or not to join them.
What's included in YouTube Premium?
As mentioned above, YouTube Premium comes with a load of goodies that make its monthly fee well worth the asking price.
- Ad-free videos
- Play videos in the background
- Download videos for offline use
- Special "listening controls" to play music in Premium
- Occasional free or discounted Google hardware and software
As to the last point, Google has given away a free Home Mini, Nest Mini, and Stadia Premiere Edition to its Premium subscribers in the past few years, as well as Google Store discounts on other products. New subscribers won't get any of the old giveaways, but you may get future Google hardware as a perk.
Google also tests cutting-edge new features on Premium, offering them to paying subscribers first. For example, Premium offered 4K YouTube videos first before it eventually came to the full free app. The same goes for picture-in-picture mode, which used to be a paid exclusive but came to everyone else about a year later.
Last and certainly not least, a YouTube Premium subscription also gives you full access to YouTube Music. With a YouTube Premium plan, you can use YouTube Music to listen to music without ads, let your tunes play in the background, and download songs/playlists for offline listening.
How much does it cost?
That's all fine and dandy, but how much will you be paying for all this?
YouTube Premium costs $12/month, and you can cancel your plan at any time. But if you're mainly interested in YouTube Music, that costs $10/month. So depending on your perspective, if you were going to pay for Google's music streaming service anyway, then you'd pay just $2 extra per month for ad-free YouTube.
If you don't care about YouTube Music, then YouTube Premium may feel overpriced for you, however.
We'll also note that you can sometimes get YouTube Premium for free with other services. For example, Google Fi Unlimited Plus subscribers get a free year of YouTube Premium thanks to a recent promotion, and Google used to offer a longer Premium trial to YouTube TV members. You'll often find that new Google or Samsung devices come with extended Premium trials, too.
Where is YouTube Premium available?
At this time, you can sign up for YouTube Premium in the following countries:
- American Samoa
- Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Cayman Islands
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- French Guyana
- French Polynesia
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Papua New Guinea
- Puerto Rico
- Russia ("temporarily unavailable")
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
YouTube Premium vs. YouTube TV
YouTube TV is Google's answer to cable. With it, you get access to over 100 live channels on practically any streaming device or web browser. After your initial discounted rate, you'll pay $73/month, along with an extra $10/month for 4K and additional fees for premium packages and extra channels.
While YouTube TV doesn't include Premium, if you do subscribe to both, you'll see your ad-free YouTube content on YouTube TV. Otherwise, you'll have to accept those ads in spite of paying a premium for Google's cable alternative.
The best way to expand your YouTube experience.
For just a few dollars each month, YouTube Premium removes ads from all videos, allows you to save videos for offline viewing, and grants you access to YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Originals. It's the best YouTube experience you can get.
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