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?