YouTube Revamps Music Streaming Service, Ups Price for Original Programming

Illustration by: Chip Wass

The streamer will rename its YouTube Red service and charge $12 a month for originals like 'Cobra Kai' and 'Step Up: High Water' as part of a larger overhaul of its subscription offerings.

YouTube is overhauling its subscription streaming business. 

The Google-owned streamer is planning to introduce a music service May 22 that will help it take on competitors Spotify and Apple Music. In launching the music service, YouTube is also revamping how it delivers original programming like Cobra Kai and Step Up: High Water to subscribers. 

Beginning Tuesday, YouTube Music will offer free access to a library of songs, albums, playlists, radio stations, music videos and more. It will also feature the covers, remixes and live performance videos for which YouTube has come to be known.

A premium version of the service — which will remove ads and offer background listening and downloads — will be available for $10 a month. Subscribers to Google Play Music will get the paid version of YouTube Music as part of their subscription. 

YouTube used to have just one subscription product, YouTube Red. But with the introduction of YouTube Music Premium, the streamer is separating the experiences for original programming and music. Now, people who want to watch the ad-free videos and original programming once offered through YouTube Red will pay $12 per month for YouTube Premium. That service costs $2 more than YouTube Music Premium because it includes all of the features of the music services in addition to the perks of the former YouTube Red product. Existing YouTube Red subscribers will be grandfathered in at their current price of $10 a month.

YouTube Music will begin rolling out Tuesday in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea.