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As someone who grew up on the internet, I’ve always been an avid watcher of YouTube. Over the years, the video-sharing service has become a noteworthy platform for content creators, and it has amassed a huge library of videos covering all topics.
I often forgo watching shows and movies on other apps, like or Hulu, in favor of some bite-size entertainment from popular YouTubers. But as much as I love watching the service, there is one key downside: the platform has evolved from a no-cost, commercial-free website to one full of ads.
Though YouTube’s videos are still free to watch, you often have to sit through commercials before and, in some cases, during your stream. That is, unless you pay $12 a month for YouTube Premium.
Though I held off for a while, I ultimately bit the bullet and made the switch to . Now, there’s simply no going back. The Premium plan only comes with four primary benefits, but depending on how much you use the service, these perks can add up to an essential upgrade.
This is the big one. Ads on services make it feel like you’re just watching cable with commercials, and that’s no fun. It’s even worse when using YouTube to listen to a music playlist on your phone since ads distract between each song.
Premium skips the ads altogether. Since subscribing, I’m sure I’ve gotten back hours and hours of time that would have gone straight into commercials.
It’s also worth mentioning that you aren’t shorting your favorite YouTube channels by skipping ads — content creators on the platform still get revenue from Premium subscription viewers.
Though YouTube clumps this one with ad-free viewing as a benefit, I think it’s worth its own mention. Background play means that you can lock your phone or switch to another app, and your video’s audio will keep playing.
This comes in handy during long drives where I need a navigation app, but still want to listen to that one album on YouTube that’s no longer on Spotify. I’m looking at you “Without My Enemy What Would I Do” by Made in Heights. Other streams that are primarily audio-based, like video essays and ASMR, also make for good background play.
I only use this feature a handful of times a year, but it really comes in clutch when I do. YouTube Premium gives you the ability to download videos on your mobile device for viewing later when you have no internet connection. I find this especially helpful for long plane flights — I use it to save up some viewing material I want to watch.
YouTube Premium also includes YouTube’s music streaming service built right into its subscription. YouTube Music normally costs $10 a month, so its inclusion with YouTube Premium is a huge plus.
YouTube Music isn’t the best service of its kind, but it’s good enough to eliminate your Spotify or Apple Music subs if you’re cutting costs.
Remember that Made in Heights album that I can no longer find on Spotify? I can listen to the whole album here, with a familiar music player interface that just makes sense. You can also download albums for offline-listening.
If you’re like me and you use YouTube multiple times a day, YouTube Premium is definitely a worthwhile investment.
The time I’ve saved on ads alone make it worth $12 a month. When you add in the fact that YouTube Premium comes with YouTube Music — which normally costs $10 a month on its own — the service becomes even more of a no-brainer.
Subscribing also supports content creators in a way that other streaming services don’t. YouTube Premium views count toward a YouTuber’s revenue, the same way that ad views pay them.
If you have other interested users in your household, you can also opt for a family plan. My husband and I share a family account, which means we pay $18/month for the two of us — that’s $6 less per month compared to when we were subscribed individually.
Yes! If you want to see just how much you’d actually use the service, new subscribers can give YouTube Premium a free shot for a whole month. Afterward, it’ll be $12 a month.
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