American tech conglomerate Google has planned to shift its free YouTube Music tier into an audio-only experience. The app will allow background listening for unpaid users, but video playback will be limited to Premium subscribers.
According to Mashable, this change, which is scheduled for November 3, will start in Canada. There are no details on when or how widely Google will roll out these changes yet.
Currently, unpaid YouTube Music users do not have the ability to listen to a track in the background or when their device is locked, limiting the utility of the app, particularly when listening on the go.
Those same users can watch videos associated with the music while it plays, though. The upcoming revision to YouTube Music's tier system will change these two things, allowing background listening but removing the ability to watch videos in the app for unpaid users.
Here's how a Community Manager at Google has explained the features for unpaid users:
- Listen to music in the background.
- Shuffle play personalized mixes.
- Find the perfect mood mixes for activities like workouts, commutes, and more.
- Explore millions of songs and thousands of playlists for free.
Meanwhile, paid subscribers will have access to the same capabilities but also be able to listen to songs on demand, watch videos in the app as they please, skip songs whenever they want, and listen without interruption from advertisements.
The experience for free users will be more akin to listening to radio, though they will still be able to listen to songs they've personally uploaded to YouTube Music on demand. Those who want to see music videos will still have the option to do so through the standard YouTube app, as per Mashable.