- Basic YouTube is free for all, but Premium offers great perks.
- The best of these perks are the ad-free videos and music and background play.
- Evaluate the streaming services you pay for -- if you subscribe to some you don't use, cancel or pause them to save yourself some money every month.
I'm not ashamed to say: I love YouTube Premium!
If you were to ask me what my favorite subscription streaming service is, my answer might surprise you. It's not Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, or any of the other myriad entertainment services out there. It's YouTube Premium. I've got several good reasons to love the service and be happy about paying for it. Learn more about YouTube premium, its price, and features, and see if you might enjoy it as much as I do.
YouTube Premium overview
A standard YouTube Premium membership costs $11.99 per month if you sign up via the YouTube website. (If you sign up through the YouTube app on an Apple mobile device, it will cost you $15.99 a month, so I recommend signing up through the YouTube website to save those bucks.) A family plan gives you up to six memberships within your household and costs $17.99 a month. What does it come with?
- Ad-free videos! No more watching or skipping ads before, during, or after a video.
- You can download videos to the app for offline viewing later. Say, if you're getting ready for a flight and won't have internet access, you don't have to go without entertainment if you plan ahead and download some stuff!
- You can play videos in the background and even as picture-in-picture on your mobile devices.
- It comes with YouTube Music Premium, which is also ad-free and allows for downloads for offline listening. There are tons of community playlists to match every single one of your music moods.
- You get ad-free access to YouTube Originals, and access to some content that isn't available at all on the free version of YouTube. I admit, this is one feature of the service I have never used, but there are a lot of original videos and series on offer, so there might be something there for you to enjoy!
- Ad-free and offline downloads for YouTube Kids. I don't have kids and can't give you any personal input on this, but I have friends with children who love this service. YouTube Kids offers kid-friendly and age-appropriate programming from popular TV shows as well as original offerings from content creators all over the world.
Anyone with the internet can access YouTube for free, so why would you subscribe? Well, here's why I do.
1. I use it every single day
It's a good practice to audit your streaming services every so often, and really look at how often you're using them, and how much they're costing you per month (especially as the costs of some of these keep going up). I know $10 or $12 a month doesn't sound like a lot, but multiply that by 12 months and however many streaming services you pay for and don't use, and it adds up every year.
I actually just put my Netflix membership on a "pause" (you can do this for up to 10 months without losing your account data) because I haven't been using it really at all lately, and I may want it back in a few months. But I use YouTube Premium every single day. Often multiple times a day. Sometimes all day! Actually, as I write this piece, I'm listening to a community playlist on YouTube Music.
2. It keeps me informed
I don't have cable or even an antenna to watch local broadcast TV. I am a digital subscriber to a major newspaper, but sometimes I like to watch my news, rather than read it. YouTube Premium keeps me informed with an entire section devoted to news, and many major news outlets post clips from the biggest stories they're covering.
3. Background play is like a little miracle
The YouTube mobile app allows "background play" with a Premium membership. This means I can be listening to a video while I check my email or social media on my phone. It's a multitasker's dream.
4. The app works well on all my devices
Speaking of the app, YouTube has multiple versions of its app, including a separate YouTube Music app. All of them work well on the mobile devices I use (smartphone and two tablets), and the two smart TVs in my home. The desktop site is also excellent and it's easy to find account information and settings and change things as needed.
5. It's ad-free!
Perhaps the best thing about YouTube Premium is that I no longer have to watch or skip ads before/during/after videos. Of course, YouTube Premium doesn't save me from the "now a word about our sponsor" ads that are part of the videos by content creators I follow. But those creators do amazing work and if the sponsors help pay for it, I think that's great. My problem with YouTube ads always came with the ones that were obnoxious and unskippable, even after several seconds. Or the ones that would blare out in the middle of a soothing backyard bird-watching video, scaring my shyest cat away from the TV and disrupting me at whatever chore I was doing to hit "skip" or mute the ad.
For all these reasons and more, I will keep my YouTube Premium subscription. We've all got a lot of competing pressures on our finances these days, and I urge you to take a look at the streaming subscriptions you pay for, jettison the ones you're not using, and keep the ones that make your life (or at least your time on the couch!) better.
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