YouTube Music’s free plan is losing features, starting in November

YouTube Music’s free plan is losing features, starting in November

Google’s current music streaming service is YouTube Music, which primarily serves two purposes: it’s a better player for music hosted on YouTube, and it can access the millions of songs offered by other music streaming services. Google revealed earlier this month that the ability to play music in the background would be coming to the free plan, but now we’re hearing the bad news — there are new restrictions on the way for free YouTube Music users.

“Some features will become exclusive to YouTube Music Premium listeners,” the company wrote in a new support article (via Android Police), “such as on-demand music selection and unlimited skips.” The removal of on-demand music selection and unlimited skips brings YouTube Music more in line with free Spotify accounts, which block mobile devices from picking specific songs (you can only shuffle albums or playlists), and limit how many times you can press skip. The ability to watch music videos from YouTube Music will also go away for free accounts.

Here’s everything you’ll be able to do with a free YouTube Music account, after the changes go into effect:

  • Listen to music in the background
  • Play personalized mixes on shuffle
  • Find mood mixes for activities like working out, commuting, and more
  • Find songs and playlists

Here’s everything that will require a paid YouTube Music subscription:

  • Listening to music on-demand (e.g. not shuffle)
  • Watching videos on YouTube Music
  • Unlimited skipping
  • No advertisements

Google notes that uploaded music will still be on-demand for free YouTube Music accounts, but it’s not clear if there will be skip limits, as there will be for normal music. Google said it would start answering comments on the support thread at 12PM PST today, but as of when this article was published, there have been no responses from Google employees.

The new changes are rolling out first in Canada on November 3, the same day free background playback goes live. Google says it will “keep everyone posted on global expansion plans.” YouTube Music Premium costs $9.99/mo in the United States, or it’s available as part of the main YouTube Premium subscription, which costs $11.99/mo.

About author

Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also the host of the Tech Tales podcast, which explores the history of the technology industry. Follow him on Twitter at @corbindavenport.