Hot on the heels of Google’s “One” subscription plan obtaining 100 million users, YouTube is also hitting that big milestone, with 100 million people paying for Premium and YouTube Music. YouTube’s subscription data didn’t make it into the earnings call three days ago.
It’s hard to know what exactly is driving YouTube’s subscriptions. Premium gets you both ad-free YouTube videos and YouTube Music, and it’s easy to imagine people sticking to one or the other. Ad-free videos have been getting the most aggressive promotion lately, with Google cracking down on ad-block users by blocking video playback and displaying interstitial pop-ups. After warning users that ad blockers violate YouTube’s terms of service, the pop-ups show a big “try YouTube Premium” button. Premium also added an exclusive “enhanced bitrate” 1080p setting, although 2K, 4K, and 8K options have always been free.
There’s not much new on the music side of things. YouTube Music is free with ads and a more limited feature set, but subscribing gets you ad-free playback, background playback on phones, and access to YouTube Music streaming on Google’s various speakers. YouTube’s blog post highlights quotes from many big music industry CEOs celebrating the service.
Google’s announcement bundles together two different subscriptions. There’s the $13.99 per month YouTube Premium subscription, which gets you ad-free YouTube and YouTube Music, and a music-only “YouTube Music Premium” subscription, which is $10.99 per month (Google increased prices last year). If you’re a Spotify customer and don’t want Google’s music offering, the company doesn’t have a plan for you. From 2021 to 2023, Google had a music-free “YouTube Premium Lite” subscription plan available only in Europe, but the company killed the plan a few months ago.