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YouTube Music Launches in India: Everything You Need to Know

From keeping music playing with the screen locked to the additional launch of YouTube Premium, here’s what’s on the table

Riddhi Chakraborty Mar 12, 2019

YouTube's music streaming app YouTube Music finally makes its big India debut.

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YouTube’s music streaming app YouTube Music has finally made its big India debut. The ‘made-for-music’ app and web player offers official songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist radio from Indian and international artists, as well as access to YouTube’s tremendous catalog of remixes, live performances, covers and music videos that aren’t available anywhere else. In addition, the app organizes and personalizes content for each user.

“India is where the multi-lingual music scene thrives” said Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music at YouTube, in a statement. “It’s interesting to note how Indian artists have consistently claimed top spots over the last few months in the Global YouTube Top Artists chart. With YouTube Music, we are hoping to bring the best in global and Indian music to millions of fans across India, and give them an immersive music experience, with the magic of music on YouTube.”

While all this is available for free in the ad-supported version of YouTube Music, the company will also bring in YouTube Music Premium, a paid membership that allows users to play songs and videos in the background while they toggle between apps, write a text message or go for a run–which, in short, means you will finally be able to keep music playing even with the screen locked. The ad-free YouTube Music Premium also offers offline and starts at INR 99 per month. The pricing is drastically lower than other international music streaming platforms in the country like Spotify (which just launched last month with paid subscriptions starting at INR 119 per month) and Apple Music (priced at INR 120 per month.)

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Subscribers of Google Play Music will get YouTube Music Premium membership as part of their subscription each month will see nothing else change–they will still be able to access all of their purchased music, uploads and playlists in Google Play Music just like always.

“We know that India loves watching music videos on YouTube — be it the vibrancy, choreography, stars and glamour,” added T.Jay Fowler, Director of Product Management, Music Products at YouTube, about the streaming service’s launch in the country. “Music from India has always been so much more than just the audio.  Therefore for us, with the launch of YouTube Music, all the emphasis is on the familiar and to make every user experience richer as they start using the service. From recommended music videos, live performances, covers, to new videos — it’s all here, and only here.”  

Some of the features on YouTube Music:

  • The home screen will adapt to each user to provide recommendations based on the music played before, as well as the listeners activities through the day, including going to the gym, tracks to listen to during one’s daily commute and more.
  • Thousands of playlists across genres, moods, activities or languages, including those titled ‘Bollywood Hotlist,’ ‘Featuring Drake,’ ‘Upbeat Hindi Retro,’ ‘Cosmic Indie Pop,’ ‘Kollywood Hotlist’ and ‘Tollywood Hotlist.’
  • A smart search feature that will allow the app to find a song even if the user cannot remember the title. All one needs to do is use prompts like, “That rap song with flute,” or lyrics (even if they’re wrong) like “Starbucks lovers.”
  • YouTube Music will also keep users updated on what is trending via the Hotlist screen–today in India, it features Bollywood film “Luka Chuppi,” “Petta – Marana Mass Official Video,” and “Thassadiyya Full Video Song” among others.
  • Users can also download their favorite tracks. Paid members will be able to download songs, videos, albums as well playlists to their mobile devices for offline listening. Their Offline Mixtape will also automatically download up to 100 songs they love onto their mobile device. Users can find all their downloads, saved music, recently played tracks, subscribed artists and playlists under the ‘Library’ tab and can adjust number of songs to download and more in their download settings.
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Users can download the app on the Google Play Store and iOS App Store, and if they do so now, they will get a special introductory offer three free months of YouTube Music Premium. The interface is a simple black and keeps it easy to navigate from the home screen to the Library and search tabs.

As a bonus, YouTube is also finally launching its original video content platform YouTube Premium in India. Priced at INR 129 per month, YouTube Premium includes a membership to YouTube Music Premium, offers an ad-free experience with background play and offline downloads for millions of videos on YouTube. The service also opens access to all YouTube Originals, including American comedy-drama web series Cobra Kai and South Korean group BTS’ critically acclaimed documentary series BTS: Burn The Stage. YouTube Premium’s possible competitors in the country will be the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Voot and ZEE5 to name a few.

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