Good news for YouTube Music fans: the streaming service’s website is getting a much-needed redesign that will adopt the side navigation drawer you get when you go to YouTube.com – only this one will be folded.
And that means much faster access to saved playlists for the alleged 80 million YouTube Music and Premium subscribers worldwide. YouTube blog, as of September 2022). Why? Because instead of the current top app bar with Home, Explore, and Library, these three sections will soon appear in a navigation drawer that can be collapsed (for a navigation queue-like experience).
As first noticed 9to5Macwhen this folding side navigation drawer is open, which requires a click, you can scroll through the last 50 playlists of liked music and new episodes (podcasts) – if at least you live in the US – by jumping to the top instead of having to go to Library and then Lists playback to have them in your treatments. In addition to that, there is a shortcut to help you create new ones faster.
Hovering over a playlist brings up a play button to start playing – when pressed, tapping opens the full playlist. You don’t have to use it if you don’t want to (did we mention it’s foldable?), but YouTube Music apparently keeps the last open/closed state between visits.
In the meantime, the app bar will be home to a search box that shows the prompt “songs, albums, artists and podcasts” while Cast is still in the upper right corner.
Analysis: YouTube Music still struggles to find a USP, but YouTube’s larger coverage is a good move
While our initial testing in the UK (even when deploying our VPN in the US) didn’t reflect a major update, it’s easy to see that this redesign – YouTube Music’s first major overhaul since its major relaunch in 2018 – makes it very similar to regular YouTube on your computer.
And it is necessary. Of all the top music streaming services (Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music HD, Qobuz), one music platform seems to be often overlooked – and that’s YouTube Music.
YouTube Music’s ad-supported free tier has been around since 2015. YouTube Music Premium is a paid service that costs $9.99 / £9.99 / AU$11.99 and offers offline listening and ad-free music that won’t stop when you lock your screen or switch to another app.
The point is that given YouTube’s phenomenal success since 2005, the company’s dedicated music offering has gone through something of an identity crisis. Even a claim of 80 million subscribers (including free, paid and trial memberships) is trivial when you look at the paid figures from major hits like Spotify with an estimated 229 million premium members, or Apple Music expected 108 million subscribers in 2023 BankMyMobile.
While we liked some of YouTube Music’s cool features for turning queues into playlists, Wear OS streaming, and YouTube Music Recap (YTM’s version of Spotify Wrapped), we often felt that the YouTube Music upload feature could have been better – and given the updates from rivals such as AI DJ Spotify or Apple Music Sing gearing up for the TikTok generation with Continuity Camera (which lets you use your iPhone or iPad as a camera by pairing with a Mac or Apple TV 4K over Wi-Fi) YouTube Music is about to do something big to keep up.
This is it? This is certainly the beginning. Finally decided to make its somewhat overlooked music streaming offering look more like its hugely successful video streaming platform, YouTube Music’s big online update can only be a good thing.