The upcoming changes will allow background listening for unpaid users, but limit video playback to Premium users.

YouTube music web

Google is planning to transform its free YouTube Music tier into an audio-only experience. It will allow unpaid users to listen in the background, but only allow premium users to play videos.

According to 9to5Google, the change is scheduled to begin in Canada on November 3. There are no details yet on when or how widely Google will roll out the changes.

Changes of Free YouTube Music

Currently, unpaid YouTube Music users do not have the ability to listen to a track in the background (when they move to another app on their phone, for example) or when their device is locked, limiting the utility of the app, particularly when listening on the go.

However, these users can also watch the video associated with the music while it is playing. Upcoming revisions to YouTube Music’s rating system will change both of these things, allowing background listening but removing the ability for unpaid users to watch videos in the app.

Here’s how a Community Manager at Google explains the features for unpaid users:

  • Listen to music in the background.
  • Shuffle play personalized mixes.
  • Find the perfect mood mixes for activities like workouts, commutes, and more.
  • Explore millions of songs and thousands of playlists for free.

Meanwhile, paid users will get the same features. But will also be able to listen to songs on demand and watch videos in the app as they wish; skip songs at any time and be free from ads.

The experience for free users will be more similar to listening to the radio. Although they will still be able to listen to their personal songs uploaded to YouTube Music on demand. Those who want to watch music videos will still have the option to do so through the standard YouTube app.