REVIEW: Is YouTube Premium Worth The Money?

20 August 2018, 15:39 | Updated: 20 August 2018, 15:44

youtube premium review music
Picture: Unsplash
Benedict Townsend

By Benedict Townsend

We tested out YouTube's new subscription service to see how it shapes up

The price

Let's cut right to the chase - there's one thing and one thing only that people truly care about when first assessing whether they want to join a new subscription service: the cold hard cash that needs to be dropped. To that end, let's have a look at how much YouTube Premium is going to cost you, and how that stacks up against other, similar services that may be vying for your attention.

Premium costs: £11.99/$11.99

Now, in typical YouTube fashion, this is where things get needlessly complicated. You can also buy a membership to YouTube Music only for £9.99. YouTube argues that when you buy YouTube Premium, you are effectively buying this £9.99 membership and getting all the YouTube features on top, hence the slightly random pricing of £11.99.

via GIPHY

How does this price stack up with other services?

In short - not great.

- Spotify retails for £9.99 a month for its premium service, but also has a student package.

- An Amazon Prime membership costs a mere £7.99 a month and gets you Prime delivery, Amazon Music and Amazon videos AND some ebooks.

- Netflix memberships range from £5.99 to £9.99 depending on how high quality you want your video.

Now, once again, the argument from YouTube is that Premium is more expensive than say, Spotify, because it grants you access to both YouTube Music and the premium video features (more on them in a bit). This presents a bit of an issue though because you can't buy the premium features on their own - you have to have YouTube Music, whether you want it or not.

Feature 1: No more ads

Premium's first feature is one of its most obvious and most welcome. A Premium membership wipes ads off your YouTube videos, allowing you to watch your 10 hour video of someone counting to a million in real time without being interrupted by a pesky five second 'click to skip' button.

YouTube stock image
Picture: Unsplash

Feature 2: Background video playing

This feature is genuinely very convenient. It's been available to some users for a while using... less than official methods... but this is the first time it's been offered as a full-blown feature and it works really well. It's nice for finding music that isn't available on other music services and listening to it on the go.

Feature 3: Download videos

This feature lets you download any video - yes, any video - for watching later on the fly. If you combine this with the fact that YouTube is still covered in long clips from movies and tv shows, this can be a really fun feature.

Feature 4: YouTube Music

And now we come to YouTube Music, YouTube's long-anticipated entry into the music streaming business. The app is easy to use, if a little too stripped back. It follows the same function-first aesthetic of the regular YouTube app and features even fewer bells and whistles than the film A Quiet Place.

This puts the service at a slight disadvantage compared to say, Spotify, which offers much deeper access to a ton of playlists and features. But it is early days and Spotify has had a hell of a head start, so there's a chance YM could catch up.

A nice YouTube Music exclusive feature is that you can hit a little button when watching music videos and it will switch to audio only. It's a nice use of YouTube's core strengths.

YouTube Music
Picture: YouTube

Feature 5: Access to YouTube Originals

This one is great for fans of YouTubers. A Premium membership gives you access to the full host of YouTube's original programming. Like Joey Graceffa's 'Escape The Night' for example.

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