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YouTube Challenges Spotify, Apple Music for College Students’ Money

Streaming service introduces student pricing in effort to snag key demographic

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St. Vincent performs at the YouTube Music Showcase.

Half a year after launching its standalone music-streaming service, YouTube is following the lead of its competitors and rolling out student pricing.

On Tuesday, YouTube announced a $4.99-a-month plan for YouTube Music Premium subscribers enrolled in colleges and universities, which is the same price point offered to students by Spotify and Apple Music for their streaming subscriptions. The $4.99 plan — discounted from the regular rate of $9.99 — includes ad-free access to official versions of millions of songs, as well as playlists, remixes, live performances and music videos, with background and offline listening capabilities as well.

In tandem, YouTube is offering YouTube Premium to students for $6.99, discounted from $11.99. For those confused: Premium — which was called YouTube Red before it was rebranded earlier this year — is YouTube’s subscription video-streaming service, offering ad-free video play and download capabilities on YouTube, access to YouTube Originals and YouTube Music Premium as a rolled-in subscription. (The non-premium YouTube Music can be used by anyone as a free service, albeit with advertisements and limited features.) Students who sign up by January 31st can “lock in” a special rate of YouTube Premium for $5.99.

These two plans offer college students “discounted access to a world of music, original series and movies all ads-free and at a wallet-friendly price,” YouTube’s press release says. That emphasis on a “world” of content, with audio and video and everything in between, is becoming increasingly popular among streaming services, as the crowded market matures and each service tries to lure in new customers with bang-for-your-buck pleas.

Spotify, for instance, recently teamed up with Hulu and Showtime to offer college students music, film and television at a $4.99 rate; there are rumors Apple Music is gearing up to unveil a similar media bundle, potentially with a news subscription as well. College students are a critical demographic for streaming companies, which view the idea of having these young listeners on a platform as more important than the losses incurred by deep subscription discounts. Still, coupled with seasonal promotions, the constant price-slashing of music subscriptions is making the music industry fret about whether listeners might expect dirt-cheap prices for music forever.

In This Article: music industry, YouTube

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