YouTube Music might be aimed at music lovers but there's no escaping the fact that YouTube in general is a video delivery platform. This has over time led to a greater synergy between the audio and video sides of YouTube and the latest example of this can be seen with the latest new feature – seamless switching.
Today, YouTube announced it is making it easier for YouTube Music Android app users to seamlessly switch between listening to an audio-only version of a song and watching the video.
The feature already appears to be live in the YouTube Music app and basically once a user clicks on an audio track they will now see new "Song" and "Video" buttons appear at the top of the screen. By default the Song setting will be in effect when clicking through to an audio track but by simply tapping the Video button the app will launch the video.
Again, the main point of this feature is the seamless switching and so the video will commence at the point the audio track is currently at. The same is true if watching a video and the user decides they'd just rather listen to the track and click on the Song button.
In principle, you can continually switch from Song to Video almost on a second by second basis and in testing the feature is responsive. It is not completely seamless at the moment as there does appear to be a slight pause while switching but it certainly is seamless in the sense you can switch from the same point to the same point without having to restart the track from the beginning, wait an unnecessarily long time, or miss a beat. As YouTube puts it, with "no pauses, no interruptions."
One particular instance where this might prove extremely useful is listening to new music. Those listening to a new song for the first time and who suddenly feel the urge to check out the official video will now be able to do so without the switching impacting on the experience. It also seems fairly likely that as long as there's an official video available for the track you're listening to, the option to seamlessly switch will be available. This is considering YouTube explained it has already "perfectly time-matched over five million official music videos to their respective audio tracks."
Of course, not everyone is going to want a feature like this and especially in light of how YouTube Music is already capable of returning both audio and video options for a song when searching. For those users who find this feature a tad unnecessary, YouTube has confirmed the feature can be deactivated (it's enabled by default) entirely by heading to settings within the YouTube Music app and turning on the new "Don't play music videos" toggle listed under "General." Once enabled the app will switch all songs to audio-only going forward.
It is probably also worth pointing out that this feature is only available to subscribers to YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium.
You can see an example of how the new Song and Video buttons appear in the app in the screenshot below. Or simply check out the feature for yourself by launching the YouTube Music Android app.