Why I am ditching Apple Music and switching to YouTube Red

It comes down to this: More services means more value

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?

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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