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YouTube Music will start becoming audio-only for free listeners

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YouTube Music is going to become audio-only and will no longer be able to play videos for free listeners. The changes will initially roll out for users in Canada starting November 3, along with an anticipated background play feature for users not subscribed to YouTube Premium or YouTube Music Premium. However, it won’t bring any updates to YouTube Premium for subscribers as they will continue to watch videos on the YouTube Music app.

Via a detailed post on its community forums, YouTube announced that videos on YouTube Music will become exclusive to YouTube Premium subscribers as free listeners will no longer be able to watch them unless they acquire a paid subscription. Users who don’t have a YouTube Premium or YouTube Music Premium subscription also won’t get features including on-demand music selection and unlimited skips.

However, YouTube Music will continue to allow free users to use dedicated mood mixes for activities like workouts and commutes, and to explore millions of songs and thousands of playlists with ads. Free listeners who upload songs to the YouTube Music app will also continue to play them on-demand, the company said on community forums, adding that the post has been brought to notice by 9to5Google.

The changes to the YouTube Music free tier will come with background play, which was first announced earlier this month and is coming on November 3. The update is also touted as Canada’s first move, though YouTube has yet to reveal its “global expansion plans.” This means that the impact of the new move will initially be limited to Canadian users.

Earlier this week, Apple introduced Apple Music Voice as a new subscription tier for its YouTube Music rival Apple Music. The cost of the new scheme is Rs. 49 (or $4.99 in the US) a month to offer music streaming exclusively through Siri. However, it doesn’t include features like spatial audio and access to lossless audio and music videos that would be exclusive to people who subscribe to Apple Music’s personal and family plans.


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Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360 based out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, internet services and telecommunications development. Jagmeet is available on Twitter @JagmeetS13 or email at jagmeets@ndtv.com. Please send your leads and tips. more

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