Published Oct 21, 2015YouTube has been talking about a paid subscription service for some time now, and here it finally is. The platform is called YouTube Red, and it's due out next week on October 28.
This is an all-in-one service that replaces YouTube's Music Key service, which previously launched in beta mode. It's packaged together with Google Play Music, so a subscription for one service also gets you the other. The whole thing costs $9.99 per month. An announcement from YouTube specifically says that it is only launching in the U.S. (with a one-month free trial), so it's not clear when it will come to Canada.
The service has no ads and will include original content, offline viewing/listening and background play (so you can continue listening to music while doing other things on your phone). The original content will include series from PewDiePie, Joey Graceffa, CollegeHumor, Toby Turner, MatPat from the Game Theorists and more. These will range from videos that a few minutes in length to feature-length films. See the list of series, which will be launching in the new year, here.
In addition to YouTube Red, the company has announced a YouTube Music app, which will be coming soon (the release date for this hasn't been confirmed). According to an announcement, the app is "a personal journey through one of the richest music catalogs; just sign in, tap a track you love, and see where your music takes you." From this description, it seems that the emphasis is on discovery rather than acting as a listener's complete personal music catalogue.
YouTube Red won't replace the regular version of YouTube, which will continue to exist in its current, ad-supported format.
By combining music and video, YouTube Red appears to be aiming to be a hybrid of film/TV services like Netflix, Hulu and Shomi, and music platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Rdio and Tidal. Of course, both of these are already very crowded markets, so it remains to be seen whether there's any room for YouTube to carve out its own place.
Watch a commercial for YouTube Red below.