YouTube Music mobile apps launch, with offline listening and no ads

12 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Music aims for beat on Android phones.

YouTube is growing into a mansion with many distinct rooms. The video platform announced Thursday that it’s finally releasing YouTube Music, an app that will let users stream YouTube’s entire catalog right from their phone.

“Welcome Android users to @AppleMusic,” Apple senior vice president of internet software and services Eddie Cue said in a message fired off at Twitter. The latest is YouTube Music, which seeks to capitalize on the video site’s massive music catalogue and convince more subscribers to jump on board YouTube Red. He credited a human curation element — actual people who fashion playlists — for creating listening experiences superior to that delivered by “zeroes and ones” of computer algorithms.

YouTube Music is free and grants you a focused application for discovering music videos, exploring YouTube’s recommendations, viewing your previous favorites, and streaming audio. However, if users want premium features such as offline playback and ad-free streaming, then they’ll have to get a YouTube Red membership— a new subscription program that allows viewers to watch their favorite YouTube content without any ads for $9.99 a month. Apple Music, the tech giant’s new streaming service, went live at the end of June as the company behind iTunes looks to dominate the fast-growing sector. Users will not only be able to save music from artists’ official YouTube pages, but they’ll also be able to listen and save “all the remixes, covers, lyric videos and concert footage that YouTube has to offer.” Therefore, cover songs by popular YouTubers such as Boyce Avenue, SamTsui and Lindsey Stirling will all be available. The Android version of the app comes with a distinctive Android feel, touting a user interface that’s been engineered specifically with Android design principles.

That’s already a stark departure for Apple, a company usually so picky about its brand design that it even tells third-party accessories providers how to screw in their screws. Along with the sections dedicated to watching or listening to previous music selections, there’s a “mixtape” option that lets you pick 20 audio tracks to save to your device. While the launch of iTunes on Windows computers was meant to get more people buying iPods and iPhones (the only devices compatible with iTunes), the launch of Apple Music for Android likely won’t persuade many people to buy Apple gear—because there’s no reason to do so. The app itself seems to be a ported version of iOS app, but Apple’s Eddy Cue has told TechCrunch that Apple has tried to make it “look and feel like an Android app.” The app requires an Apple ID for sign-up and it seamlessly syncs for existing subscribers. What the app will do is ensnare people in Apple Music itself—a valuable opportunity that might be well worth the sacrifices in both design and potential product sales.

Apple knows it can’t afford to miss out on a market of 1 billion smartphone users if its music streaming service—already late to a game with established competitors like Spotify—is to thrive and expand. So far, Android users have generally reacted to the new app with enthusiasm, and there are already nearly 8,000 user reviews in the Google Play Store. While some reviewers praised Apple for finally breaking out of its exclusive product bubble, one Android user scoffed, “Show us something we don’t already have.”

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