Is YouTube Premium Worth the Cost? 7 Things You Need to Consider

Joel Lee Updated 14-12-2019

In May 2018, Google rebranded YouTube Red as YouTube Premium. The service still offers the same benefits plus a new music streaming service called YouTube Music Premium (not the same thing as Google Play Music).

Is YouTube Premium Worth It?

The truth is, YouTube Premium is a mixed bag. It’s really up to you and how much value you place on the available features. Here’s what you need to know to make an informed decision before subscribing to YouTube Premium.

1. How Much Is YouTube Premium? $12 Per Month


Strange enough, YouTube Premium’s $12-per-month price tag feels at once too much and yet too little. And when you compare it to other subscription-based media services—like Spotify, Amazon, and Netflix—the waters grow even murkier.

For example, Netflix costs $8 per month, Amazon Prime works out to about $10 per month, and Spotify Premium costs $10 per month. YouTube Premium costs more than each of these services, but does it offer as much as they do? Not really.

On the other hand, Twitch proves that thousands of users will voluntarily pledge $5 per month to individual channels all for an ad-free experience, the ability to chat while channels are in subscriber-only mode, and other light features with no tangible benefits.

So, keep the $12-per-month subscription cost in mind as we go through everything YouTube Premium offers. Only you can decide whether the asking price is reasonable. (Note that YouTube Premium comes with a 3-month free trial.)

2. No More Ads in YouTube Videos

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YouTube Premium’s biggest selling point is that it removes advertisements from all videos on YouTube, whether those videos are YouTube Originals or not (more on this later). Unfortunately, $12 is a steep price to pay when ads can be blocked for free. (We don’t condone that.)

In fact, the growth of ad-blocking is one of the driving forces behind YouTube Premium. YouTube has long been known as the king of free videos, but those videos are expensive to host and stream. If people keep blocking ads, YouTube has no choice but to pursue alternative revenue models.

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 Premium lets you do that in a way that lets the service stay in business.

3. Access to Original YouTube Originals

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

As of this writing, the following shows are the best YouTube Originals that have been released:

  • Cobra Kai: A comedy-drama series based on The Karate Kid series of films. It follows the re-opening of the Cobra Kai dojo and the difficulties that Johnny Lawrence without his famed mentor in the picture.
  • Escape the Night: A murder mystery that follows a group of guests who are invited to a party and then sent back in time, who then have to figure out how to escape with their lives in tact.
  • Impulse: A drama series (based on a novel of the same name) that involves a teenaged girl who learns that she can teleport. There’s more to it than that, but let’s leave it unspoiled.
  • Lazer Team: A feature-length film that successfully mashes together teen comedy with superheroes. It won’t be the best thing you watch this year, but it’s decent enough that you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your time.

And there are plenty of others to explore. Many series allow you to watch their first episodes for free, so head over to the YouTube Originals page and see if anything catches your eye.

But yes, these series and films are only available to those who have a YouTube Premium subscription. Are they on the same level as the original content put out by Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Not quite, but it’s clear that YouTube has an entirely different target audience in mind.

4. YouTube Premium Includes Google Play Music

Update: YouTube Premium now includes YouTube Music. Read more about what you can do with YouTube Music 8 YouTube Music Tips and Tricks You Should Really Be Using YouTube Music is a solid music streaming service, but by utilizing these YouTube Music tips and tricks you can make it even better. Read More .

There’s a lot to love about Google Play Music The 7 Best Google Play Music Features Is Google Play Music worth trying? Here are seven of the most compelling features you'll find within Google's streaming music service. Read More , including that it may just be the best mobile music player app available right now. For free, you can upload up to 50,000 songs and stream them on any Google Play Music-compatible device whenever you want.

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

Note that an All Access subscription to Google Play Music costs $10 per month. So, if you’re already paying for an All Access plan, you may as well switch over to YouTube Premium. It pretty much costs the same, but you get so many extra features.

If you don’t want to try YouTube Premium, have a look at some of the other best streaming services.

5. Extras for YouTube Music, Gaming, and Kids

If you aren’t already using the YouTube Music mobile app, you should give it a try. It takes all of the music available on YouTube and puts it all at your fingertips, allowing you to stream music wherever you go.

The app is useful even as a free user, but it shines with a YouTube Premium account due to the extra features: no advertisements, keep playing music in the background even when you switch to another app, and download songs and playlists for offline playback. (But you can’t listen to downloaded songs outside of the app, which is where a tool like a YouTube playlist downloader The 5 Best YouTube Playlist Downloaders to Grab Videos in Bulk Want to watch YouTube videos offline? These YouTube playlist downloaders let you download entire YouTube playlists quickly. Read More  comes in handy since YouTube uses so much data How Much Data Does YouTube Use? Learn more about how much data YouTube uses, how to measure your YouTube data usage, and tips to reduce your YouTube data usage. Read More .)

With YouTube Premium, YouTube Music is a strong contender to the best music streaming mobile apps 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 and YouTube Kids apps, YouTube Premium gets rid of all advertisements and allows downloads for offline playback.

6. YouTube Premium Won’t Impact Regular Users

Image Credit: JuliusKielaitis/Shutterstock

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

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

You can think of YouTube Premium as an extension 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 Premium subscribers can watch Originals.

7. YouTube Premium Harms Content Creators

Even though nothing is directly changing with regular YouTube, the existence of YouTube Originals may have an indirect but real impact on content creators who don’t benefit from the revenues. See our thoughts on why YouTube Originals are bad for creators 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 the YouTube Originals program (refusal meant removal of their videos) while lesser-known YouTube creators weren’t even notified about YouTube Originals.

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

Is YouTube Premium’s Cost Worth It?

If ads don’t bother you, don’t get Premium. If you have no interest in Originals content, don’t get Premium. If you don’t use YouTube’s mobile apps, don’t get Premium. If you hate the direction YouTube is heading in 25 Amazingly Interesting YouTube Facts You Should Know There's a lot you probably don't know about YouTube, so here are some amazingly interesting YouTube facts to check out. Read More , don’t support Premium.

YouTube Premium actually offers a lot for $12 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 Premium is if you’re already paying for an All Access subscription to Google Play Music. Otherwise, it’s a tough call, and I personally lean towards No. YouTube TV, on the other hand, may be the best cable replacement for cord cutters Why YouTube TV Is the Best Cable Replacement for Cord Cutters YouTube TV is one of the many option available to cord cutters now. Here's why YouTube TV is better than its competitors. Read More .

Related topics: Google Play, Media Streaming, Streaming Music, YouTube, YouTube Music, YouTube Premium.

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  1. DS
    June 14, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    Didn't find an answer, so I'll ask here:
    IF I subscribe, for the price, does that include free viewing of the library of films, that nonsubscribers see "Rent or Buy" prices?
    Iow — if I want to watch "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951) on free YouTube, I have to rent or buy it.
    Would my subscription offer this movie for free?

  2. CJ
    January 10, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    Not having to see another ad while using the YouTube mobile app makes YouTube Premium well worth the money.

    • Haizam
      February 11, 2020 at 12:47 pm

      I agree. YouTube Premium is well worth the money spent in order for me to stop seeing ads suddenly popping up while I am watching a video.

  3. Chris
    October 12, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    I keep seeing $12 mentioned for YTP (and I was paying that as recently as September’s billing), but now it’s up to over $16. Was there a price increase I missed back there??

  4. Melanie Ouellet
    June 23, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    I'm looking for something where I can download audio CD like positive affirmations from Louise Hay and listen to it offline. Is premium the solution or will it still use my data ? Thanks

  5. Sami Nugent
    June 7, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    I am contemplating purchasing simply so I can download videos of interest to listen to without needing access to wifi (to avoid constant exposure to EMF's).

  6. Sami Nugent
    June 7, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    Interesting; I've learned something new today.

    The reason I would like to have the ability to download videos is so I can listen at bedtime without having wifi on. I follow many health/science and truth sites and important to keep abreast of the input.

  7. Julie Davies
    June 5, 2019 at 9:23 am

    1 month free then £16 a month.i dont think so.

  8. Marilyn Blakeslee
    May 29, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    I see now after the one month trial it is up to $15. I am trying it out because of the Cobra Kai series but I am still not sure about it. I was looking at season 1 and it says $1.99 an episode so I don’t know if I have to still pay even with the Premium. I am not going to pay $15 a month for the service and then still have to pay $2 an episode that is highway robbery.

  9. Hope
    March 23, 2019 at 7:23 am

    "Is youtube premium worth the cost?" Umm..Absolutely! As an HSP I have to be careful about what I mentally consume. There are a buttload of advertisements out there that I have no interest in and do me harm rather than good- they're just filled with noise and stimuli that my brain and my well-being do NOT need. I will gladly pay 12 dollars for peace of mind and to be able to watch all of the relaxing, positive content I regularly enjoy on youtube- like ASMR for instance. When I want to wind down for the evening and listen to something calming it's insanely nice to be able to listen to a video and audio without having to be screamed at to buy a chevy or mazda with a "great deal I can't miss just this weekend!" I don't think you understand that this silence is worth its weight in gold. I also don't have to worry about content creators that have scheduled ads in the middle of their videos. When I'm stressed out the last thing I want to worry about is relaxing to a video I've carefully selected just to have it interrupted 2 minutes in by an annoying ad that I can't skip over or something that's way louder than what I was watching. Also, the worst thing ever is falling asleep to something at night or during a day time nap and have an AD burst into my calm quiet space right after the video finishes and I've started to drift off to sleep. It's hell. Youtube premium is far more valuable to me than Netflix, hulu, iTunes and any other streaming service combined.

  10. FattyZ
    March 14, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for the info. Someone told me they have "youtube red" the other day so I searched. The name change made it annoying to figure out but this article is great. I see no reason to get it. I'll probably try it for a month to be sure. You clarified it though, that was great.

  11. RD
    March 11, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    I like the no ads, the Kobra Kai series, but most important to me that was not mentioned in the article, is the fact that Premium allows you to play videos & music without having the app on the screen. So I can listen to a video while I'm doing other things, or if I need to quickly check something else on my phone in the middle of something, it will not interrupt what I was watching or listening to. I am not a fan of Google or YouTube & didn't want to send them money, but when I cancelled Premium I realized how much I appreciated being able to use it without the app always running on the screen.

    • Hope
      March 23, 2019 at 7:25 am

      Yes!!! Great point! The off-screen feature is really really nice!

  12. Gary B
    February 21, 2019 at 4:05 am

    Good article. Very interesting. Thanks!

  13. Impractical nibba
    February 18, 2019 at 8:28 am

    I've YouTube premium for $7.99 with all access music subscription grandfathered from day one. ( Cancelled for few months at couple times so far) can't beat this sweet deal.

  14. Kyle
    December 13, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    So you are trying to guilt people into not buying a subscription? Please. I pay my monthly fee with a smile on my face. For no ads I would pay triple that. I don't care even a LITTLE if it hurts content creators. I use YouTube for entertainment and nothing more and these people sitting on their ass all day making videos as a full-time job can go to hell. If the service disappeared tomorrow I wouldn't care but while it exists I'll pay the fee to get rid of ads across all my devices and improve the experience with the ability have videos play in the background, etc.

    • Pete
      February 11, 2019 at 4:05 am

      You'd happily pay more than $30 a month to remove adverts from something and yet you wouldn't care if the service completely disappeared tomorrow? Fair enough... Some people are strange.

    • Bill
      March 7, 2019 at 2:49 pm

      You wouldn't have any youtube videos to watch if it weren't for those content creators. You don't seem like a nice person

    • Hope
      March 23, 2019 at 7:24 am

      hear hear!!!

  15. Tony Darcy
    September 1, 2018 at 7:24 am

    I don’t think it still includes google play music.
    Either way the subscriptions they are offering and the prices are very confusing (for example it’s more expensive to sign up in the YouTube app for Android or IOS than it is through a web browser).
    I want to block the ads but at the same time I feel that I am giving money to an advertising company, which already uses (and will continue to use) my data as a revenue stream (as other google services will continue to have ads), effectively paying them twice.
    I also know I am not going to use any of the other features much as legally I can’t stream music to my car (stupid Australian laws for drivers under 21) and I always have a cellular connection with me, meaning offline downloads are useless.

  16. Brian
    August 18, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    I was searching for information about YouTube subscriptions, and this article was genuinely helpful. My thanks to Mr. Lee for his honesty.