Why I am ditching Apple Music and switching to YouTube Red

It comes down to this: More services means more value

Credit: Ninac26/Flickr

I have been a huge fan of Apple Music. With a $14.99 family membership I am able to listen to unlimited music, including Apple Radio, and I can share my subscription with my wife and other family members. If I am traveling I can download music for offline playback.

I loved it. It was awesome. But then I found YouTube Red.

I got a one-month trial of YouTube Red and it was enough to make me decided to cancel my Apple Music subscription and put that $14.99/month to better use. (You can a 3-month trial of YouTube Red for $.99 today, after which you'll pay $9.99/month for an individual subscription. Family sharing is available for $14.99 per month.)

Here are some of the reasons why I am making the switch.

Universal playback: Each room in my house is equipped with a set ofbluetooth speakers, because I want them to be hidden from site and I don’t want to have to hook my phone to the speakers.

So I purchased Chromecast Audio ($35) for each speaker and turned them into networked smart speakers. Now I can simply stream audio to a particular room without having to fiddle with Bluetooth.

The bad news: You can’t stream Apple Music to Chromecast. (There is an app called AllCast, but it was last updated in May 2015 and has limited functionality -- for example, it doesn’t support Apple Radio.)

With YouTube Red I get the best of both worlds. I can stream music to Apple TV, Chromecast and my Yamaha A/V system, which supports AirPlay.

More services than Apple Music: With Apple Music all you get is Apple Music and Radio. But a YouTube Red subscription comes with  YouTube, YouTube Music, YouTube Gaming and a free subscription to Google Play Music.

Ad-free YouTube and Google Music: With a paid YouTube subscription I get an ad-free experience across all the aforementioned services.

Background playback: On free YouTube, if you are listening to some music or watching a music video, it stops as soon as the screen sleeps or you switch between apps. With YouTube Red, the content continues to play in the background.

Offline Playback: With a YouTube Red subscription, you can download YouTube videos to your device and watch them offline. You can do the same with Google Play Music.

It’s cross-platform. YouTube Red and its bundled services are available for iOS, Android, Chrome OS along with Windows, Linux PCs and macOS through a web browser. By comparison, Apple Music is available on iOS and Android and Windows and Mac users can access it through iTunes.

Family sharing: In the interest of giving credit where it’s due, I'll say that family sharing is one reason why I used Apple Music. Now Google is also offering family sharing with YouTube Red.


YouTube Red simply offers more value for money. That is a big part of why I'm making the switch. But I also have a bias against vendor lock-in. By using a mix of services from different providers I ensure that I will never be locked into one platform.

Have you tried YouTube Red? What do you think?

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

Download the CIO October 2016 Digital Magazine
View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies