January 17, 2022

YouTube Music Is Bringing Free Background Listening to Canada – Gizmodo

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If you’ve ever used your phone to listen to music on YouTube and wished so badly that the tunes would keep cranking while you navigate to other apps, then you know how delighted Canadian YouTube users will probably be when they soon get to experience that exact joy. And hopefully, that’s a sign it’s coming for the rest of us.

In an October 4 blog post, Google—which owns YouTube— announced that free background listening will soon begin rolling out to Canadian users of the YouTube Music app.

“Every new update to YouTube Music begins by listening to people, and we’ve heard you loud and clear: Keep the music playing,” Google wrote.

Available on November 3, the new feature will enable Canadian users to enjoy “radio-like listening with your screen off,” according to the announcement, meaning that any media emanating from YouTube’s Music app will keep playing without interruption, even while you use your phone to do other things or have the screen off.

Although free background listening has long been standard fare that competitors like Pandora, Spotify, and Tidal offered to users, up until now, only those who subscribed to YouTube’s Premium tier could access the feature. Although it wasn’t immediately clear when listeners in other countries could expect to see the new feature on their own YouTube Music apps—Google’s blog merely notes that users should “stay tuned for additional information and expansion plans”—it’s safe to assume that YouTube will soon bring the feature to a wider audience in the hopes of competing with their music-focused rivals.

Although it might seem at first glance like the decision to broaden access to free background listening, YouTube Premium still has plenty going for it: In addition to ad-free listening, users can also download videos for free on or offline, and can also easily toggle between regular audio and music videos.

The news comes several weeks after YouTube successfully forced the shutdown of several highly popular Discord music bots, much to the dismay of the dedicated communities of users who had used them to power their servers’ background playlists.

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