Google has launched YouTube Premium in South Africa.
The company said it was focusing on the availability of YouTube Music initially. However, the ability to subscribe to YouTube Premium locally is busy rolling out to South African users.
The service originally launched as Music Key in November 2014, offering subscribers ad-free streaming of music and music videos from partner labels on YouTube and Google Play Music.
It rebranded as YouTube Red in October 2015, offering ad-free streaming of all YouTube content. In February 2018, Google announced plans to expand YouTube Red to 100 countries.
On 22 May 2018, it rebranded yet again, this time as YouTube Premium. Google also introduced YouTube Music Premium which, much like the original Music Key service, offered ad-free streaming of music for a lower subscription fee than the full Premium service.
YouTube Music has been integrated with Google Play Music, and if you are a Play Music subscriber, you will automatically receive a subscription to YouTube Music Premium.
YouTube Premium and YouTube Music first launched in the US, South Korea, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand , and rolled out to 14 additional countries in the weeks that followed.
The key features of YouTube Music Premium are:
- Ad-free streaming of music through YouTube and Google Play Music.
- Downloading songs and videos for offline listening.
- Background listening — continue streaming music through YouTube while using other apps on your phone.
- Listening to music on your Google Home or Chromecast Audio.
In addition to the above features, Google highlighted that it also supports searching in indigenous South African languages, such as isiZulu and isiXhosa. Subscribers can search song descriptions, lyrics, and emojis to find the tracks they want to listen to in YouTube Music.
The key features of YouTube Premium are:
- Watch videos on YouTube without ads.
- Download videos and playlists on your mobile device to watch offline.
- Background streaming — continue playing videos on your mobile device while using other apps or when your screen is off.
- Included subscription to YouTube Music Premium.
Elsewhere in the world, YouTube Premium includes access to YouTube Original movies and series. However, at the time of publication, YouTube Premium in South Africa appeared to exclude access to YouTube Originals.
The message “Video blocked in country” is displayed above YouTube Original movies and from the third episode of series (the first two episodes of shows are available without YouTube Premium).
The ad-supported version of YouTube Music is available for free.
YouTube Music Premium is available for R59.99 a month, or R89.99 per month for a Family Plan. A free trial of YouTube Music Premium is also available through the YouTube website.
YouTube Premium is available for R71.99, while the Family plan is R109.99 per month.
A Family subscription allows up to six members to share a single subscription. All family members must be 13 or older, have a Google Account, and reside in the same household as the family manager.