Is YouTube Premium worth it?


How-To Geek

YouTube Premium, a paid subscription service offered by YouTube, may not be as worth it as it may seem.

Jayden Burnside, Editor

Everyone has heard of YouTube, the large video-sharing website where anyone can upload videos of themselves doing pretty much anything. From cat videos to the craziest basketball trick shots, the site has it all. Just recently, however, a debate has arisen on the value of YouTube’s paid membership, YouTube Premium.

YouTube Premium has been around for a while, dating back to 2015. Here, YouTube announced their new paid experience, YouTube Red. Later in 2018, YouTube rebranded this into YouTube Premium, which is what is still around today. This decision was made to combine the features of YouTube as a whole and YouTube Music into one subscription.

YouTube Music Premium comes bundled in with the standard YouTube Premium. This allows users to listen to any selection of music at their own leisure. A feature that carries over to YouTube Music Premium from the standard premium subscription is the ability to download music and videos for offline viewing.

“The option to listen to lengthy videos when you’re not in the app is handy. It’s great for listening while you drive or cook dinner,” said Vann Vicente, technology writer of How-To Geek.

On top of downloading videos, Premium also comes with many other features to enhance the viewing experience. One of the biggest features is the removal of all advertisements. Any video clicked on will play freely without any interruptions. This is especially evident since early 2021 when YouTube recently started to give videos two advertisements instead of one.

Another benefit is exclusive access to the background play features. This allows the user to start watching a video, and then leave the YouTube application and keep the video still playing in the background. This feature works when the device is powered off, or even when another application is opened in its place.

“Early on, one of the major perks of YouTube Premium was access to YouTube Originals,” said Ben Stegner, deputy editor of MakeUseOf services.

The last unique feature of YouTube Premium is YouTube Originals. These “Originals” are videos and shows that are only present on Premium. These can range in quality and length. Over the years, however, YouTube has made more and more of their “Originals” public for anyone to view, making Premium less and less relevant.

“YouTube Premium has been around for years, and it hasn’t really changed anything about the way YouTube works,” said Stegner.

Looking at all the facts, it is clear to tell that YouTube Premium is not worth it. Most of the benefits included with Premium are only available to mobile users. Desktop users will not get much use out of Premium. The most notable feature on Desktop computers seems to be advertisement blocking, and even still ad-blockers can be installed on most computers for free. The $11.99 per month price tag makes Premium much more expensive than other subscription services like Spotify Premium or Netflix. 

“For roughly the same price, a Netflix subscription provides far higher-quality shows and movies than YouTube Premium offers,” Stegner said. 

A YouTube Premium subscription may be appealing to some, but its lackluster content holds it from being the best subscription it can be. YouTube is always changing, and who knows whether it may change the service substantially in the future or not.