YouTube launches music streaming service in SA called YouTube Music

Lula Sharp
March 15, 2019

Following Spotify's long-awaited arrival in India, popular video-streaming platform YouTube has also introduced its music-streaming subsidiary - YouTube Music in the country. You don't need to pay individually for the access of premium videos, the YouTube Premium service will give you full access to all YouTube videos.

Users can search for descriptions, lyrics and even emojis to find the tracks they want to listen to. Furthermore, if you are Google Play Music subscriber already nothing will be changed, instead you get the YouTube Music Premium membership as well. Here's how YouTube Music and YouTube Premium differ. And if you purchased a Galaxy S10, you get four months of full YouTube Premium for free, assuming that you're a new customer.

Interestingly, Amazon Music's subscription is also bundled with Amazon Prime's at Rs 129 a month or Rs 999 a year, whereas Spotify has recently launched its service in India for Rs 119 a month.

The features of the YouTube Music app will be extended to YouTube Premium, which entails ad-free, background and offline play across all of YouTube, as well as access to YouTube Originals including Cobra Kai, BTS: Burn The Stage.

With the entry of Google YouTube Music, the Indian market is now getting crowded and the price war is likely to happen sooner than later, as local player Saavn merged with Reliance JioMusic to become a JioSaavn, one of the biggest music services in South Asia.

While YouTube Music Premium will set you back INR 99 each month, there's a much better deal if you read the fine print.

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Meanwhile, several stars including Nasty C, Lady Zamar and Amanda Black performed at the launch of the streaming service in Johannesburg on Tuesday night.

Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music, YouTube said: "India is where the multi-lingual music scene thrives".

Unlike other premium music streaming services, you can not specify the bitrate at which you want to consume your music in but YouTube does vary the quality of the audio by letting you choose the resolution in which the video was uploaded. That is what prompted the service to launch YouTube Music, its "made-for-music" app dedicated to, well, music. Additionally, seven of the top 100 most played songs of 2018 across YouTube featured Indian artists.

The new YouTube Music app is available to download from the Play Store and App Store right now. Also, there's a huge catalog of remixes, covers, music videos and live performances, all presented in an organized way.

YouTube Premium was formerly known as YouTube Red and was not previously available in South Africa. It offers all videos on YouTube without advertisements and all videos can be saved for offline playback. YouTube Premium subscription is bundled with normal YouTube, YouTube Music and YouTube Originals, while YouTube Music subscription is standalone music.

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