It used to be a lot harder to get music on the internet. Sure you could have used illicit software like Napster and Limewire back in the day, but by doing so, you opened your computer up to viruses, spyware, and constant pop-up ads. Today, things are more mellow with streaming services -- but the services aren't free. So what's the best way to discover and download music today, anyway?
Well, to find it, you'd need to look in the most unlikely place on the web. Despite specializing in streaming video, YouTube is quickly growing a reputation as one of the best ways to listen, explore, and discover music on the web. And now, the company is finally playing nice with artists instead of just deleting videos with copyrighted content -- greatly expanding the platform's library of content.
If you're looking to load up your phone with the hottest new tracks, or maybe even learn about some new artists you haven't heard of before, here's what you need to know about this unlikely hero in the streaming music sector.
Let YouTube Music automatically fill your phone with tailored content
Just like YouTube proper, YouTube Music helps users discover new tracks via Google's patented algorithm.
This content-serving engine takes your watch/listening history, cross-checks it against similar artists and tracks, and recommends artists to you based on your tastes and what the algorithm suspects you'll be interested in. The result for users is instant access to new artists, albums, and songs that are bound to fit perfectly within your existing collection.
But discovery isn't the only thing giving YouTube Music the upper hand when it comes to functionality. A new feature called "smart downloads" has debuted, which will automatically download up to 500 songs to your device for offline listening.
(Note: the smart downloads feature is not available on the free version of YouTube Music.)
This means you'll be able to hear your music even if you're not connected to the internet! This feature expands upon the app's existing "offline mixtape" function, which builds and curates 100 new tracks for you to listen to based on your history and taste.
These features are a perfect fit for music lovers and provide a new avenue of discovery and inspiration in the form of recommended tracks. With so many recommendations in one place, it's possible to discover entirely new genres and categories to enjoy that you may not have even known about before!
Plus, the offline features make the app more convenient for those of us who love the outdoors. When you're hiking or camping, cell service isn't always readily available. The YouTube Music app provides the perfect solution to this common point of frustration.
Unlike traditional streaming services, you get access to the music video for a given track when it's available!
How can I get my hands on YouTube Music?
The service is free to use with ads, but you can upgrade to YouTube Music Premium for just $10.00 monthly. This premium subscription gives you access to features like smart downloads and offline listening -- plus, it removes the ads completely.
If you're still on the fence, the platform offers a no-commitment 1-month free trial, as well as family and student plans for the budget conscious.
Having access to songs is excellent, but not knowing what to listen to next can be a major drag. YouTube Music takes out the middleman and brings new content directly to your device in the hopes you'll continue to love its recommendations and want to discover more new tracks. That, in itself, is a beautiful thing.
4 ways to listen to music on your Android
Cassette tapes (remember those?!), CDs and even iPods all feel like distant memories of how we used to listen to music. Today, it’s all about the music you can carry or stream on your Android phone or tablet. All you need is your gadget, a set of earphones or a Bluetooth speaker, and these four apps to enjoy your favorite tunes.