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Fri, 25 May 2018 13:00:00 -0400

YouTube Music arrives late to the party with room for improvement

A massive number of people use YouTube not just for videos, but as a de facto music-streaming service, not unlike Spotify. YouTube is well aware of this, which is why the company has been trying to make music an official part of its paid offerings for nearly four years now. This week, YouTube Music launched in early access, and it's the closest the company has come yet to building a proper Spotify or Apple Music competitor.

Google's launch strategy behind YouTube Music and what's now called YouTube Premium has been confusing, but now that the service is rolling out to the masses, it's time to see how it stacks up to other streaming-music options. After spending a few days with YouTube Music, it's clear that there's potential here, but that a ton of work needs to be done before it's on par with the established players.

The experience

If you've ever used Google Play Music (a full-featured streaming service that Google has offered since 2013), YouTube Music should feel pretty familiar. Whether you're streaming from the web or your phone, the experience begins on the Home screen, where you'll find a wide variety of playlists, albums and videos to get music flowing with just one tap. In many cases they're identical to the playlists and stations that Google Play Music has offered for years.

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