YouTube is a fascinating platform for both earning money and reaching broad levels of fame. It’s the entire world’s go-to website (and app) for watching video content for free. Well, the majority of content is for free, at least, and it does include a lot of ads and restrictions. But what if there was a way of watching YouTube with no ads, the ability to download any video you want, and access to content you wouldn’t otherwise even know existed? Well, there is, and it’s called YouTube Premium.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need about YT Premium and why it might be a good idea to sign up. And in the interest of fairness, we will also go over some of the potential setbacks of this service.
In 2023, if you want to get YouTube Premium, its annual cost is $119.99, or $11.99 a month. For comparison, Netflix’s monthly Basic plan (with no ads) costs $9.99, Hulu’s monthly Basic No Ads plan is $14.99, and Disney+’s Premium (without ads) is $10.99. In other words, when compared to other streaming services, YouTube Premium is not that pricey.
Of course, there are a few details that need to be pointed out when it comes to that price. Namely, you can get a discount if you pay for 12 months upfront. However, there is no auto-renewal. You have to pay once again when the 12th month is up, though you can opt to pay individual monthly fees or another 12 months in advance.
You’ve seen what YT Premium will cost you. You’ve also seen just how much other services cost in comparison. So why should you opt for this one, in particular? Well, here are six reasons to consider.
Ads are the bread and butter of nearly all YouTube content creators. They are the source of revenue for YouTubers and a decent flow of finances for the company itself. However, most viewers don’t like ads interrupting the flow of the videos, so they mainly opt to use dodgy ad-blocking software, thus ruining the content creators’ chances of earning money on their videos.
However, there is a legal, safe, and non-damaging way of watching YouTube ad-free, and it requires a Premium membership. All viewers who sign up for YouTube Premium get to watch videos uninterrupted and completely ad-free every single day throughout their allotted time. And the best part is, they get to do so on every single bit of hardware. Be it smart TVs, tablets, smartphones, PCs, or wherever; there will be no ads across the board. In that sense, YT Premium has the advantage over regular ad-blocking software since most ad-blockers only exist for one, maybe two platforms.
Before the 2020s, plenty of popular YouTubers produced original content that was not available to free users. YouTube Premium provided a platform for them to create exclusive videos for paying consumers only, the type of content that was locked behind a paywall and required premium membership. And for a while, it worked. Fans of channels like Rooster Teeth, Rhett & Link, and I’m Poppy could watch their original movies, TV shows, game shows, documentaries, and related content for as low as $11.99 a month.
However, with the shift in policy, YouTube began to roll out nearly all of those originals so that everyone could access it, with ads, of course. A lot of people wondered if getting Premium was even worth it now that nearly all of those shows were free to watch. But while those shows did appear for free on the regular YouTube portion of the website, there was still some stuff left behind the paywall. Bonus features, outtakes, behind-the-scenes footage, and even some exclusive interviews were still not being rolled out for free. Therefore, right now, the only way to access all of that material is through a Premium membership.
YouTube is famous (and sometimes infamous) for rolling out new features fairly regularly. Sometimes it’s a shift in the interface; other times, it’s a different menu or video editor. But ultimately, it’s a process that never ends.
So, what does it have to do with YouTube Premium? Well, all subscribed members get the privilege of learning about these changes first and then testing them. It’s kind of like getting an alpha version of a video game that’s in post-production. The pieces are all there, and all you have to do is test them out to see if they work. Based on your input, the company will start to fine-tune the feature until it’s perfected.
If you’re a music buff and like to have a huge library of songs to listen to, at any point, for free, then YouTube Premium is your go-to service. The main reason is the fact that, by signing up for it, you get free access to not one but TWO massive music libraries.
Both YouTube Music Premium and Google Play Music are linked to YT Premium, and with a monthly fee in place, you can listen to all of their tens of thousands of songs. But it doesn’t stop there. YouTube Music is also home to quite a few podcasts, giving you additional content to enjoy while you’re on the move. Furthermore, you can enjoy these songs even offline, with the screen turned off and your phone locked. The industry term for all of these bonuses would be “more bang for your buck.”
What would you do if there’s a video on YouTube you particularly enjoy but is at risk of being deleted from the platform? You’d probably want to archive it in some way, i.e., to download it from YouTube onto your own device. For free users, there is no such option, and you have to rely on less than stellar 3rd party free YouTube downloaders.
Of course, YouTube is well aware of the public’s desire for video downloads, which is why it has included that option with its Premium packages. Therefore, you now have legal access to downloading any video on the platform you feel like. That’s an excellent solution for people who don’t have access to a stable internet connection and can instead listen to their downloaded videos on the go.
Interestingly enough, if you’re an Android or an iOS YouTube Premium user, you can enjoy a particular feature called Smart Downloads. Through this option, YouTube downloads videos onto your device based on your previously watched videos, subscriptions, topics of interest, and time spent on particular niches. In other words, you will get free content downloaded onto your smartphone based on your taste, even if you don’t know what the content of the video is.
Background Listening is possibly one of the best features of YouTube Premium. It’s perfect for people who like to multitask. Say you want to listen to a long-form video, but there’s a message on social media you must respond to. With YouTube Premium’s Background Listening, all you need to do is click away from YouTube and enter a different app. The audio of your YouTube video will continue to play in the background while you’re fiddling with something else.
It’s fascinating how easy and quick this feature is to use. All you do is click away, and when you’re done, just click back. In a matter of nanoseconds, the screen will appear, and your video will resume playing.
Now, we’re aware of how beneficial YouTube Premium can be. However, as is the case with any platform that has a bit of reach, it is far from perfect. In fact, here are a couple of details that might sway your opinion away from YouTube Premium.
Due to a variety of reasons, YouTube Premium is only available in around 60 countries globally. In that sense, if you live in a country that doesn’t support this service, you will not be able to enjoy its benefits. Hopefully, that number will expand in the years to come.
Other than the collective discount on a 12-month advance, YouTube Premium does not offer any further discounts or promotional prices. That lack of flexibility is actually one of the reasons why people flock to some of the aforementioned competitors like Hulu and Disney+. This model has been in place since the Premium’s formation, and it’s not likely to go away any time soon.
As we’ve established, YouTube Premium does offer a lot in terms of features. However, some of the minor yet important ones are still missing. For example, there are no charged station subscriptions or rentals available through the service. In addition, song videos don’t come with subtitles, lyrics, or any extra information about the song or its performer(s). While those extras are small in comparison to the ones listed in this article, they complete the YouTube viewing experience. Hopefully, they will implement these features, and more, as part of future Premium updates.