So let's get to what you probably care about: What does YouTube Music offer that other streaming services don't?
For one thing, the app is free (you can pay a monthly fee of $10 to get YouTube Red, which nixes ads and allows you to play audio while the app is in the background). It has the same catalogue of music as most of its competitors (roughly 30 million songs) but it lacks the option to make playlists.
Basically, it offers the same options as any other streaming device, with one notable advantage: Video. It makes sense that YouTube, a video-based platform, would have a notable video option -- and it does. You can download and save music videos for offline use -- however, this is a YouTube Red feature, and not necessarily a YouTube Music feature (when you buy the paid version of music, the two blend together without a lot of demarcation).
Essentially, the real advantage here is paying for the premium version and getting YouTube Red -- which then opens the door to ad-free streaming (videos and music), offline viewing, and (confusingly) full access to GooglePlay, which is a streaming music service itself. From there, you can take advantage of YouTube's distinct position as a sharing platform: the remixes, the covers, the live versions, and songs that might be barred from other streaming services will all show up here on YouTube Music -- which is a major plus that other apps like Spotify and Apple music just can't compete with.
What YouTube is doing here, is playing to its strengths, and translating that into a streaming experience. Is it enough to persuade loyal Spotifyers to make the jump -- just for some video access, and maybe access to a slightly larger catalogue of music? That remains to be seen. But given YouTube's track record of unparalleled success, I have confidence they will at least put up a worthy fight.
Wil Fulton is a Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's still streaming on Spotify...for now. Follow him @wilfulton
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