YouTube Music gets a lot of flack for plenty of reasons, and the main one is the lack of background listening for free users. If you aren’t a YouTube Premium subscriber, your device’s screen needs to be on in order to listen to your music. Now, the company is making background listening for YouTube Music free, but there’s a catch.
Background listening is free for Canadian YouTube Music users
It’s confusing why YouTube is so squeamish about enabling background listening for free. Google moved over from Google Play Music (which had free background listening) to YouTube Music. But after a recent announcement, it seems that YouTube is coming to terms with this—finally.
According to the company, Canadian YouTube Music users will be able to listen to music in the background and with their phone screens off starting November 3rd. It seems odd that the company chose one demographic rather than just making the feature available for everyone.
The most likely reason is that the company is merely testing background listening on the Canadian YouTube Music users. This means that it will be collecting data on how many people actually like the feature. YouTube may also be looking to see if it gets any new users because of this.
YouTube Music is now in Google Assistant Driving Mode
Background listening isn’t the only new feature to YouTube Music. The service now resides in the Google Assistant Driver Mode. This mode actually encompasses several Google services.
While you’re navigating with Google Maps, Google Assistant will be at your beck and call to make sure you don’t look at your screen while driving. Google has integrated YouTube Music into this feature, so all you have to do is say ‘Hey (OK) Google, play [song] by [artist].’
Other YouTube Music news includes the app being ported to older wearables
The YouTube Music app was originally only for smartwatches running Wear OS 3. This is frustrating to a lot of people because only Samsung smartwatches have the update right now.
However, a recent report from The Verge states that YouTube has had a change of heart. The company started rolling out the app to smartwatches running Wear OS 2. It seemed to be a gradual rollout, as (at the time of the article) the app was only popping up on Fossil, Michael Kors, and Mobvoi smartwatches.
This comes just after there was an unofficial port of the app released. The unofficial port was much more complicated to install, it required multiple apps, and the overall experience was buggy and glitchy.