If you love watching videos on YouTube, you may have considered subscribing to YouTube Premium. But is YouTube Premium worth it?
Let’s take a look at what YouTube Premium offers, what you should know about the service, and how to decide whether it’s a good fit for you.
1. How much does YouTube Premium cost?
YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red) costs $11.99 per month after a one-month free trial. If you’re sure about the service and want to commit to a year, an annual plan is available for $119.99. That’s two months of savings for an advance payment.
There are also two other plans available for families and students.
The Family plan for YouTube Premium costs $22.99 per month. This allows you to add up to five other people (six members total) who are at least 13 years old and live in your household, so they get the same benefits. According to YouTube’s terms, these people must live at the same address as you.
If you’re a student who can provide verification (required each year), the Student YouTube Premium plan costs $6.99 per month instead.
Whether the cost of Premium is worth it depends on how much of YouTube Premium’s benefits you use. Keep that in mind as we look at them below, especially in relation to Spotify Premium and other services like Netflix.
2. No ads in YouTube videos
The biggest selling point of YouTube Premium is that it removes ads from all videos on YouTube. While there are other ways to avoid ads on YouTube, they are not officially waived and do not deprive creators of revenue. Plus, the lack of ads extends across all platforms, so you won’t see ads even when you’re watching on a smart TV app, game console, your phone, or the like.
As it turns out, the proliferation of ad-blocking is one of the driving forces behind YouTube Premium. YouTube has long been the king of free videos, but hosting and streaming those videos is expensive. If people continue to block ads, YouTube has no choice but to pursue alternative revenue models.
We know ads are annoying, especially when you have to sit through a 15 second commercial just to watch a 30 second YouTube clip. Want to get rid of them? YouTube Premium lets you do what helps the service stay in business and support the creators you watch.
YouTube states that it splits the money it receives from premium subscribers among the channels that people watch. So by watching your favorite channels with premium, those channels are earning money for which they would have to depend on advertisements.
3. Full Access to YouTube Originals
Even if seeing ads on YouTube doesn’t bother you, there are some other features that may justify the price of YouTube Premium. Initially, one of the major perks of YouTube Premium was access to YouTube Originals: a collection of exclusive shows created by YouTube itself.
However, after phasing out YouTube Originals in early 2022, YouTube has opened up access to most YouTube Originals to everyone. Now free users can watch YouTube Original content with ads like any other video. The company vaguely states that “only select episodes may be available for streaming at a given time,” but in our experience, most original content is open to all.
However, being a YouTube Premium member still has some perks regarding Originals. In addition to ad-free access, subscribers gain access to bonus content such as deleted scenes and director’s cuts.
Take a look at the YouTube Originals channel to see what’s available. Some videos marked as premium are only available to members. Whether or not you’re interested in anything on offer is a different story.
4. YouTube Music Premium included
A YouTube Premium membership also includes access to YouTube Music Premium. If you’re not familiar, YouTube Music is Google’s music streaming service. It replaced Google Play Music, which was retired in late 2020.
Like Spotify and other music streaming platforms, YouTube Music is available for free. With YouTube Music Premium, you also get ad-free access, the ability to play music in the background, and the option to download music for offline listening.
YouTube Music Premium costs $9.99/month, so it adds a lot of value to YouTube Premium. If you don’t already subscribe to Spotify, Apple Music, or similar, you can enjoy two types of subscriptions under one umbrella.
For more information on what YouTube Music has to offer, see our introduction.
5. Video download and background play
The above YouTube Premium benefits apply everywhere you use YouTube. But there are some perks specifically related to viewing on mobile devices.
One is that YouTube Premium lets you use your iPhone or Android phone (or your desktop browser) to watch offline.