YouTube Music lands in SA

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The YouTube Music Premium service launches in SA.
The YouTube Music Premium service launches in SA.

Google-owned video-streaming service YouTube will bring its music-streaming service YouTube Music Premium to South Africa.

The app will compete with the likes of Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer, and will replace the company's other music-streaming service, Google Music.

All existing Google Music customers will be converted to YouTube Music Premium and all their playlists will be moved across to the new platform.

YouTube Music offers users music videos, official albums, singles, remixes, live performances, covers and hard-to-find music that can only be found on YouTube.

There will be a free ad-supported version of YouTube Music. The paid membership will cost users R59.99 per month and allow them to stream music uninterrupted by adverts, as well as download songs to listen to offline.

Music that is downloaded onto a device can be listened to for up to 30 days afterwards without being connected to the Internet.

There is also the option to pay for a family plan that allows up to six people to get their own accounts and only pay R89.99 per month collectively for the service.

The company says a number of features within the app differentiate it in the crowded music-streaming app space.

Google SA head of marketing Asha Patel says these include: "A home screen that dynamically adapts to provide recommendations based on what you've played before, where you are and what you're doing. Thousands of playlists across any genre, mood or activity. And Offline Mixtape, which automatically downloads songs you love just in case you forgot to."

YouTube Music users will also be able to have their music continue to play in the background, even when they have left the app.

Another feature, called Smart Search, makes use of Google's search technology. Within YouTube Music, users could search for the phrase 'rap music with flute' or 'country music with female vocal' and songs fitting those descriptions will appear.

Users are also able to search for descriptions, lyrics and even emojis to find the tracks they want to listen to. Smart Search is available in most languages, including indigenous South African languages such as isiZulu and isiXhosa.

"Music lovers will no longer miss out on their favourite tracks simply because they forgot the titles," says Patel.

YouTube is running a launch deal that will allow new users who sign up to use the premium version of the app free of charge for three months.

YouTube Music is available to download from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

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