What is YouTube Red?

Remember the good old days when YouTube didn’t have ads? Well, now you can go back in time, with YouTube Red.

If you have a YouTube account, you’ll have noticed the video-sharing website’s recent spruiking of its new monthly paid-for subscription service. But what is YouTube Red and is it worth your time?

Here’s what you should know before coughing up $14.99 per month.

YouTube Red is ad-free

The biggest feature of this service is that it offers unlimited ad-free viewing. Since YouTube relies heavily on advertising to support its existence, it really can’t afford to get rid of ads, unless you pay up instead. YouTube also claims that the money it receives goes towards supporting its artists. 

You can use it offline

Traditionally, music and video streaming services require some sort of internet connection to work. Another feature that ads value to YouTube Red is that users can view videos on their phone or tablet, while offline. This means you can download your favourite videos and still be able to watch them, even without an internet connection.

It comes with background play

If you tend to use YouTube as a music streaming service (i.e. Pandora, Spotify), you’ll know that every time you leave the app, videos stop playing. This means you can’t use your phone and YouTube at the same time. With YouTube Red, however, you can. Background play means that YouTube now works like any other music and video-streaming service, so you can throw on your favourite tunes and let them play in the background.

It includes Google Music

Lucky you. If you decide to pay for a YouTube Red subscription, you’ll also receive a Google Music subscription. And vice versa. Google Music gives you streaming access to 35 million songs and storage of 50,000 songs to play offline and ad free.

You’ll receive exclusive content

A final feature of YouTube Red is that subscribers are given access to a slew of new content that non-subscribers can’t access, called YouTube Red Originals. These are videos that are described as “new, original shows and movies from some of YouTube’s biggest creators”. If you’re an avid YouTube user, this is probably one of the major bonuses of the new service.


You can trial YouTube Red free for one month, after which you’ll be charged a monthly fee of $14.99. I signed up to the trial for research, and because the concept of ad-free YouTube listening was tempting (I primarily use YouTube for listening to music). Personally, the other features aren’t tempting enough to make me stay with the service, and I plan to opt-out before the first automatic billing. Plus, there’s a range of free ad blockers you can install to stop ads playing on YouTube.

Video lovers could find this subscription valuable, particularly when it comes to the offline streaming and original content features.

Music lovers are better off paying for a high-quality music streaming service, such as Spotify (which costs around the same per month), rather than the hit-and-miss quality you find on YouTube.

Related articles:
Best free music listening services
Apple Music free trial
Delete yourself from the internet

Written by Amelia Theodorakis

A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.

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