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In October 2015, YouTube announced a brand new subscription You Can Now Pay to Watch YouTube, The Dangers of Tesla Autopilot... [Tech News Digest] You Can Now Pay to Watch YouTube, The Dangers of Tesla Autopilot... [Tech News Digest] YouTube Red adds subscription fees, testing Tesla Autopilot, Android stops draining your battery, polling your friends on Twitter, Mythbusters stops busting myths, and Back to the Future in 90 seconds. Read More service called YouTube Red, and promptly received a lot of backlash from viewers and content creators alike. But YouTube hasn’t backed down from its plans — in fact, it’s moving full steam ahead — so it’s time to ask…

Is YouTube Red actually worth paying for?

The truth is, YouTube Red is a mixed bag. For some, it’s the best thing since sliced bread. For others, it has the potential to ruin one’s channel and ambitions. And for the rest, it won’t have any noticeable effect at all. Here’s what you need to know to make an informed decision before subscribing.

1. It Costs $10 Per Month

The weird thing about YouTube Red is that the $10 per month price tag simultaneously feels like too much yet too little. And when you start comparing it to other subscription-based media services, the waters grow even murkier.

For example, look at the big names currently dominating the market: Netflix costs $8 per month, Amazon Prime works out to around $8.25 per month, and Spotify Premium costs $10 per month. YouTube Red is in the same ballpark, but does it offer as much as these services do? Not really.

youtube-red-subscription-cost

However, at the same time, you can point to Twitch, where thousands of users not only voluntarily pledge $5 per month to individual channels, but also send in huge one-time donations that can exceed hundreds of dollars — all for an ad-free experience, the ability to chat in subscriber-only mode, and other light features like that.

Keep the $10 subscription cost in mind as we go through everything YouTube Red offers. Only you can decide whether that’s a reasonable asking price. (Note that YouTube Red comes with a 30-day free trial!)

2. No More Ads in YouTube Videos

YouTube Red’s biggest selling point is that it removes advertisements from all videos on YouTube, whether those videos are part of the YouTube Red program or not (more on this later). Unfortunately, $10 is a steep price to pay when ads can easily be blocked for free. (NB: We don’t condone that).

youtube-red-no-more-ads

In fact, the growing prevalence of ad-blocking is one of the driving forces behind YouTube Red Blame AdBlock for YouTube Red, Amazon Kills Daily Deals... [Digest] Blame AdBlock for YouTube Red, Amazon Kills Daily Deals... [Digest] YouTube Red is a response to blocking ads, Amazon Local is no more, Android and Chrome OS will be united, Jeremy Clarkson shills for his new corporate overlords, and Duracell spoils Star Wars. Read More . While YouTube has long been known as the king of free videos, those videos are expensive to host and stream — and if people keep blocking ads, that leaves YouTube little choice but to pursue alternative revenue models It's About Ethics in Stealing Games Journalism: Why AdBlock Needs to Die It's About Ethics in Stealing Games Journalism: Why AdBlock Needs to Die A simple, free browser plugin killed Joystiq – and is ruining the Internet. Read More .

We get it. Advertisements are annoying, especially when you have to sit through a one-minute ad just to watch a 30-second YouTube clip. Want to get rid of them? YouTube Red lets you do that in a way that lets the service stay in business.

3. Access to Original YouTube Content

If you’re perfectly happy watching ads on YouTube, there are still a handful of other features that may justify the price of YouTube Red for you. For example, the second major selling point is that part of the money will go towards the production of original content.

As of this writing, the following shows are definitely in development and are slated to be released at some point in 2016:

  • Scare PewDiePie: A reality show where famous game streamer PewDiePie will be placed in live scenarios inspired by various horror games.
  • Fight of the Living Dead: A reality show where popular YouTube personalities are put in a realistic zombie apocalypse scenario and must survive.
  • Sing It!: A scripted comedy that parodies reality singing competitions.
  • I Am Tobuscus: A scripted comedy that parodies the life of a YouTube creator searching for success.
  • Lazer Team: A feature-length film that involves four losers who discover an alien ship with mysterious cargo.
  • A Trip to Unicorn Island: A feature-length film that explores the life of YouTube personality, Lilly Singh.
  • Single by 30: A romance drama series that involves two high school friends who promised to marry each other if they were both single at 30.

As you might expect, these series and films will only be available to those who have a YouTube Red subscription — and as you might be able to tell, most of these productions involve YouTube stars. If you aren’t already “tapped into” YouTube, you probably won’t care about YouTube’s original content.

However, it’s possible that YouTube may start streaming other films and TV series, establishing themselves as a competitor to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. We should add that there’s no solid news on this yet, but we wouldn’t discount the possibility of it happening.

4. Access to Google Play Music

There’s a lot to love about Google Play Music Why Aren't You Taking Full Advantage of Google Play Music? Why Aren't You Taking Full Advantage of Google Play Music? Google Play Music is an excellent service, but it includes an extra program that lets you listen to your own music anywhere. It's worth checking out! Read More , including the fact that it may just be the best mobile music player available today. For free, you can upload up to 50,000 songs and stream them whenever you want from any device that supports it.

But with a YouTube Red subscription, you also get an All Access subscription to Google Play Music, which allows you to create custom radio stations, to stream any song from the Google Play Music library on demand without any ads, and to download songs for offline playback.

And the best part about this is that the All Access subscription to Google Play Music costs $10 per month, so if you already have an All Access account, you may as well switch over to YouTube Red. It costs exactly the same, but you get so many more features.

5. Extra Features in YouTube Mobile Apps

If you haven’t been using the YouTube Music mobile app, you really should give it a try. In short, it takes all of the music available on YouTube and makes it easy for you to find and stream them wherever you go. (I know I’m not the only one who uses YouTube as my main music player!)

However, while the app is useful even as a free user, it really shines when you have a YouTube Red account due to the extra features: there are no advertisements, you can play songs only with audio and not video (to save on bandwidth), you can download songs for offline playback (up to 30 days at a time per song), and you can enjoy background playback.

With YouTube Red, YouTube Music is a strong contender when it comes to the best music streaming mobile apps What Is the Best Way to Stream Music for Free on Android? What Is the Best Way to Stream Music for Free on Android? There are a ton of free music-streaming apps for Android, but how are they different and which is your best option? Read More . As for the YouTube Gaming mobile app, there aren’t any special features beyond the removal of all advertisements. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if YouTube starts including Red features in more of its apps.

6. It Won’t Impact Regular Viewers

What if you don’t buy into this whole YouTube Red movement? How will it impact you as a regular viewer who just wants your daily dose of cat videos and all the other (highly watchable) nonsense that YouTube is so great at delivering?

Well, it won’t. Nothing about regular YouTube is changing.

youtube-red-regular-viewers

You can think of YouTube Red as an extension of or addition to “regular” YouTube. YouTube will stay as it is in ad-supported form, but there will now be a separate VIP section (if you will) where Red subscribers can watch premium content.

7. Will It Harm Content Creators

Even though nothing is directly changing with regular YouTube, the existence of the YouTube Red program may have an indirect but real impact on content creators who are not part of the Red program. At the very least, non-Red videos will be seen as “lesser”, as well as a host of other problems 4 Reasons YouTube Red Is Bad for the YouTube Community 4 Reasons YouTube Red Is Bad for the YouTube Community Google just announced YouTube Red. YouTube is a different kind of service with a big community. So, is YouTube Red good or bad for the video site in the long term? Read More .

But the real problem is that YouTube is trying to take control of something that has traditionally been user-generated. There are stories of popular YouTube creators who were “forced” into taking part in YouTube Red (refusal meant removal of their videos) while lesser-known YouTube creators weren’t even notified about YouTube Red until the announcement itself.

It’s clear that YouTube doesn’t really care about the millions of smaller channels that aren’t popular enough to be Red partners. So, what will happen to them when the Red program ramps up and they’re left in the dust? By supporting YouTube Red, you may be supporting the death of YouTube as we know it.

So, Should You Sign Up for It?

If ads don’t bother you, don’t get Red. If you have no interest in the original content, don’t get Red. If you don’t use YouTube’s mobile apps, don’t get Red. If you hate the direction YouTube is heading in, don’t support Red.

Overall, you actually get a lot for $10 per month, but it’s only worth it if you’re going to use all of those features. The only situation where I can solidly say YES to YouTube Red is if you already have an All Access subscription to Google Play Music. Otherwise, it’s a tough call, and I personally lean towards No.

What do you think of YouTube Red? Which features are great and which ones do you think are extraneous? Does the original content interest you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Image Credits: YouTube on Tablet by Your Design via Shutterstock, YouTube in Browser by JuliusKielaitis via Shutterstock

  1. Kendrick
    December 7, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    The thing about ads is they never go away. Hulu tried the same tactic. Pay for the service and we will remove the ad. Then it turned to "well we will reduce the ads". Now Hulu wants you to pay for their next tier of service to remove the ads.

    Same thing will happen with Youtube.

  2. Julie
    December 2, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Why does You Tube think they rank the same as Netflix, who has original content like House of Cards and so many others? It is rediculous ! The no ads feature is worth $2.95 a month. Later, when they do actually do have critically acclaimed content, charge more. The ads have gotten so heavy as of. Dec. 1, 2016 it is painful to listen to some of my favorite content. I would not use the services you describe above. I am super frustrated with their current business model. Let me add I am not a normal complainer type personality, me writing this is out of the norm- but I hate having 9 ads during a 20 minute video!

  3. Tom
    November 8, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    ...and yet you can easily bypass all of adds and do the exact same thing as youtube red for free by using software like YTD video downloader or others of its ilk. shesh... Sorry not paying 12$ a month. Just use some elbow grease folks, not that hard.

  4. Alina
    October 25, 2016 at 3:04 am

    First of all, I LOVE YouTube red! You can download videos and play them without wifi! And turn off the device and the video will still play! I can freely listen to my same without wasting battery!!! I also love Joey graceffa's escape the night series! YouTube red is worth it!!

  5. dominik mj
    October 8, 2016 at 12:34 am

    It bothers me, that Google (via youtube) didn’t learned from Apples App Store and iTunes.
    Before Apps were all quite expensive - and a lot of people pirated them (as well as media content) - because they didn’t had the money to buy legally.
    iOS apps changed the complete industry - most apps are cheap enough, that everybody can buy them.
    10$ per month is 120$ per year - for some uninteresting channels and ads free content? Please!
    Why they don’t take maybe 2 or 3$ per month? Far more people would consider then to subscribe!

  6. derp
    September 1, 2016 at 4:06 am

    Thought this was a stupid idea at first. Until I notice the advertisements becoming an overwhelming 5 minute long wait for what I clicked for. Plus there is that music pass, I could replace my Microsoft music streaming with that. 2 birds 1 stone?

    • Joel Lee
      September 2, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Yeah, YouTube Red is really only worth it if you can get at least two birds with one stone -- and if you can take advantage of both ad removal and Play Music, then I think it's extremely worth it. After all, it's the same price! The offline playback for the YouTube Music app is amazing, too.

  7. Andi
    August 28, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    I wish this all would have been explained ahead of time. I was hoping to see movies; and I don't get movies with this. I already have and love my Spotify account, not to mention all the playlists I've already created. Not too interested in their original series...NONE of those look appealing to me. Bah! I'm in my 30-day trial and I can't see going through with it.

    • Joel Lee
      August 29, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      That sucks, Andi. The silver lining is that at least it's a free trial! Don't forget to cancel your Red membership so you don't get charged.

  8. ramona
    August 19, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    idk i mean the lack of ads, native background play + premium membership to play music really seems worth the $10 to me. couldn't care less about the original content tho, and i really don't think that it'll make non-red videos seem inferior in any way.

  9. Muhammad
    August 5, 2016 at 9:18 am

    lol i just wanted to watch game lab

  10. Paul W
    July 29, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Personally, I've never bought or even researched anything based on an internet ad; the only thing I do is look at the "skip" timer. I don't even remember any of them. I really wonder if anyone has ever actually bought something because of these ads, or even remembers anything they see.

  11. Antonio
    July 26, 2016 at 4:18 am

    YouTube Red is the best thing ever!!! I subscribed a few months ago when I hosted a party and wanted to play unlimited, ad free videos on my chromecast through my tv. It was a party hit!! Plus, I can save video playlist, favorites, and for some reason, even the sound quality is better with red!! This is the best 10 dollars a month I've ever spent on a website

  12. Pete
    June 28, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    I think 10 a month is too steep even for toutube. If there was a annual charge that was cheaper i would consider signing up for red. I mean i pay 120 a year for xbox for 2 accounts, plus netflix, amazon prime and crunchy roll. If they did it for 60 dollars a year i would do.

  13. Oleksandr
    June 22, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    I have a feeling that "free" YouTube will change after the Red will be widely available. If removal of 1-minute advertisement from 30-second video was mentioned as a selling point for Red, it will be easy for Google tweaking their YouTube to contain 2-minute(or 3-minute)-long advertisement in average. This will force majority to buy the Red account.
    So, YouTube will become as a free and low-cost TV channels with advertisements up to 25-30% of air time.

    • micah
      November 28, 2016 at 7:00 am

      that's assuming a business strategy out of the company with the most processing power in the world, and access to the greatest amount of feedback in human history. What you're describing does not sound like a good business model, and therefore I don't think they'll go that route. If google has shown anything in the past, it's that it's ahead of expectations.

  14. Paul Banta
    May 27, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    I just got an offer for 99cents/three months for the program, so I googled and this channel gave me all I needed to know to decide not to get it. While the ads can be annoying, most are skippable after 5 seconds (and the rest are usually 15-30 seconds) and usually stop playing by themselves if you watch the content of a specific channel (that isn't music--like VEVO). There's no free/discount on the movies YouTube carries from major studios like WB, Fox, Universal, etc. Thanks for answering my curiosity about it!

    • Joel Lee
      June 1, 2016 at 11:25 pm

      I got the same offer and I also declined. Despite $0.99 being dirt cheap, I personally don't use any of the YouTube services/apps enough to make it worthwhile. Your idea for free or discount movies would be pretty awesome though.

      Glad the article was helpful, Paul! Even if it meant informing you to NOT get it. :)

  15. Sam
    May 25, 2016 at 2:30 am

    I live on youtube mobile I listen or watch all day long at work so youtube red is heaven for me, no more adds alone would have me signing up, for the working person $10 a month, subscription fee is nothing in Australia that is less than two coffee's so worth it 1000 times over for me. being able to listen while it is in the background is even better and I did not realise how much I needed this till I had it! for me, the only concern is that the funds are not reaching my favourite channel creators, but then again that's what Patron is for if they are creating great content not just recycling what already out there then I will happily support them through Patron.

    • Joel Lee
      June 1, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      Yeah, considering Australia's minimum wage, the price is incredible. Can't say the same over here in the U.S. though. Still, nice to know you're getting a lot of value out of it. Thanks for sharing Sam! It's easy for me to forget how these things can impact those in other countries.

  16. Al Olmstead
    May 18, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Our experience with modern corporations is that whatever inducements they offer end up costing far more than they sad, or in most cases, either didn't say at all or said in so much legalese that nobody understands. As for me, it does't take a ten-page user agreement to answer simply"No!".

  17. Abe
    April 30, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    I've been looking for a way to get rid of ads on Spotify for Android, but none of the services last long--they're all gone. So I was considering Spotify Premium, but to get the content I want--books, movies, music--I'd have to pay for each individually (too much). Or so it seemed. If Youtube Red gives me at least movies and music (via Google) without ANY ads, then I'd cancel Netflix and ditch Spotify Premium. If Youtube Red added access to Google books, then it'd be a major game changer. It would be my go-to source for digital entertainment.

    But would I have to buy a separate subscription for each device?? That wouldn't work...

  18. Amakudari
    April 14, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    I do not see the value in paying $120 (x 3 devices) per year for YouTube Red. But, as a shareholder, I wish that you all subscribe so that I make more in dividends. Thanks in advance.

    • Annouymus
      June 9, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      You only need to pay once a month then sign in to ur google and bam youtube red on yo phone computer and tablet

    • Rickle the pickle
      December 5, 2016 at 6:39 pm

      So you receive GOOG (or GOOGL) dividends Amakudari? Interesting, since neither have regular dividends. What am I missing? An "in theory" comment, mayhaps?
      ...signed

  19. Redonymous
    March 7, 2016 at 7:53 am

    Actually about 6: It will affect on regular user. They will add more ads. Ads will be longer (or multiplied) and they make them less avoidable. That happened to spotify and it's already happening to youtube (i have gotten unskippable ads and i have read about article where it said that google is making ads so adblock can't block them). AND i think sponsors are going to move from separate videoads to sponsoring vloggers, gamers, reviewers even more than they do now. IF AD IS IN VIDEO (that you are watching) -> IT WILL AFFECT THE REGULAR AND RED USER.

    And about Red itself.. if you wanna sponsor some guy you watch.. by paying Red.. you actually don't know if you support the guy you are watching or you just support "mammoths" (the "big channels"). Red hasn't told if they share your payments to content creators from "pool" where it's shared per minutes watched (minutes watched world wide.. making your views affecting minimal.. making your money go to those you don't necessary even watch) or if it's paid only to the ones you are watching. I have tried to find info about how they share money and i got finally a reply from someone who works in youtube.. quess what they said.. I have to be Red-member to get into that information. (And because 1) Red is not in europe yet, i have no change to get in that info and 2) isn't it silly to sign into something you have no clue what you are signing into?)

  20. Evan
    February 14, 2016 at 5:53 am

    I would rather have ads than have to pay for Youtube. Hence I don't use adblock.

    • Joel Lee
      February 18, 2016 at 4:26 am

      Nice! Thank you for not using adblock. Content creators all over the world thank you for that, too. :)

  21. James Howde
    February 13, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    I might be being over cynical here but I'm with Mr LeBarre.

    We've seen this scenario many times and usually the owner realises pretty quickly that while making their premier version appreciably better cost money - making the regular service worse doesn't.

    • Joel Lee
      February 18, 2016 at 4:25 am

      If YouTube did go that route, they'd be chopping off their own legs. Hopefully that's not what happens, but I suppose it's always possible... :(

  22. sonic
    February 13, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    I love it... If only it was outsite the us.. Im so bad at using my vpn on my phone. So i always open the normal youtube version, with ads and no backgroud play -.- i manly bought it for no ads on the phone and smart tv. and the google music thing is pretty good.

  23. James LaBarre
    February 13, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    > Access to Google Play Music...

    Yeah, and I've looked at their offerings. Nothing I want there. So *that* is a zero-sum value there.
    .

    > Well, it won’t. Nothing about regular YouTube is changing.

    Sure. And YT suddenly doing region blocking on all those Japanese videos we *used* to have access to has *nothing* to do with YT Red, even if both just happened to happen at the exact same time? Yeah, sure.

    • Joel Lee
      February 18, 2016 at 4:23 am

      Region blocking has been going on for years. Not sure how it has any relevance with YouTube Red?

      • James LaBarre
        February 18, 2016 at 1:43 pm

        And *JUST* as they're introducing YouTubeRed, a significant number of previously available videos just *happen* to become unavailable. Coincidence? I think not.

  24. Gabe
    February 12, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Awesome. thanks

  25. ozmark
    February 12, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    You don't sign up for Red and get Music as an afterthought, it's the other way round. If you use Music, no YT ads is a bonus.

    • Joel Lee
      February 18, 2016 at 4:23 am

      Haha, I can agree with that. YouTube Red really makes YouTube Music pretty freaking great.

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