YouTube Premium and Music landed in Bangladesh at the beginning of August this year and was welcomed by Spotify, a player that has been in the market for more than two years now.
While priced the same (Tk199/month), YouTube Music Premium did not get much popularity in the Bangladeshi market in the last two months, and the credit for this goes slightly to Spotify.
You see, being in the market for a while now, Spotify has some tricks up its sleeves. For starters, paying for Spotify Premium is as simple as it can get. You just recharge your Grameenphone (also Skitto) or Robi (also Airtel) number and pay for a Spotify subscription using your phone's balance.
Meanwhile, in order to get YouTube or YouTube Music Premium, you need either a debit or a credit card that can make international transactions.
But let's say you already figured it all out and have a way to pay. Should you stick to your existing Spotify Premium or should you make the switch? Let's look at some of the key differences between the two platforms.
The Spotify app is simple and very easy to use. You open the app, and everything is where it should be. Just in one glance, you will be able to tell that the whole interface has been designed keeping maximum focus on music.
Smartphones are huge in size now, and it gets very difficult to get to the top portion of the display while using the phone with one hand. Spotify understands it and placed its Search option right at the bottom between Home and Library where your thumb can reach.
YouTube Music, on the other hand, is not the cleverest app Google made. The search button is on the top right side of the display, and there are four buttons on the bottom.
The buttons are Home, Samples(!), Explore(?) and Library. Samples take you to a shorts-type scrollable feed where you get to listen to a few seconds of some songs and Explore is where it shows new releases, charts, moods and genres and top songs.
Having these features is definitely nice. But these do not need to be placed on the bottom in any way.
Apart from putting essential buttons away from the finger and unnecessary ones within reach, the rest of the app seemed fine to me. YouTube Music app is not made for music only and includes videos as well, which may make it look a little complicated from time to time since many music has separate entries for video and audio.
Spotify streams music at bitrates up to 320kbps, while YouTube Music only goes as high as 256kbps. The numbers may seem huge but it is very likely that you won't realise a thing when you listen to the music on both platforms.
While playing a song on YouTube Music, you just tap one button and it starts showing the video of the music you are playing, albeit with a half-second delay sometimes.
Spotify does not have anything like this. However, it tweaks the music to some extent, making it more soothing to the ear.
Algorithms play a crucial role in music streaming platforms, and in the case of Bangladesh, it plays out really well for YouTube Music.
YouTube Music can get all the information about your listening habits from YouTube, the website you have most likely been using for ages to listen to music. It will see that you have been watching a concert on YouTube and will automatically start showing the music played in that concert in the Music app.
Spotify's algorithm, on the other hand, can efficiently create multiple unique playlists based on your listening habits.
Both platforms can effectively offer you a very individualised playback experience. In terms of the cleverness behind the algorithm, Spotify gets the upper hand. But YouTube Music turns out to be more effective in Bangladesh due to it being part of YouTube.
Music or podcast?
If you are a music lover, you may have noticed that you cannot find some of your favourite music on Spotify. It has a few old songs from Habib Wahid, Adit, Nancy and other Bangladeshi musicians. Even Bollywood isn't spared. I couldn't find any music from Bidya Balan's Hindi film Parineeta on the platform.
YouTube Music, on the other hand, has basically every music thanks to the access to YouTube's massive collection.
However, when it comes to podcasts, Spotify is the leader. YouTube Music has podcasts due to its connection with the mother app, but it might seem a little more complicated, time-consuming and inconvenient to find out whether the podcast you want to listen to is on the platform or not.
Other than the mentioned Tk199/month subscription. Both platforms also have student packages priced at Tk99/month. But when it comes to YouTube, there's more.
On YouTube, you can either go for YouTube Music Premium or spend a few extra bucks to get YouTube Premium, which includes Music as well.
YouTube Premium will cost you Tk239/month, and this additional Tk40 means no more annoying ads of an infamous food delivery app that basically bought all the ad slots YouTube has in the country. There's also a student package at Tk139/month for YouTube Premium.
Spotify has something YouTube Music does not and it may either make you happy or make you furious.
No matter how many devices you log into using your Spotify account, you can play it from only one source at a time.
The perk of this feature is that you can control your music from any device connected to the internet by logging in to your account, no matter which device is playing the music. On the other hand, it also means you can only play music on one device at a time.
In YouTube Music, you can just log in to another device using your ID and password and play different music on it without interrupting what's already being played on your other device.
Lyrics are very important in music platforms and YouTube Music takes the upper hand here, especially if you are a fan of Eminem.
Spotify gets all its lyrics from MusixMatch and they don't have the lyrics of Eminem's songs anymore. Meanwhile, YouTube Music uses other lyrics platforms alongside MusixMatch and can get those lyrics from other places.
YouTube Music app can feel a little buggy sometimes as well with the incorporation of both audio and video on the playlists. It might take some getting used to if you are coming from Spotify or any other music streaming platform.
Moreover, you cannot access Spotify's vast collection of podcasts from Bangladesh.
Should you switch?
Spotify is still the best music streaming platform in the world, and it is very likely to hold that position for many more years to come. When it comes to audio, it offers tons of more features than YouTube Music. So, making the switch can be a very difficult decision to make.
On the other hand, if you need YouTube Premium, making the switch should be the money-saving option since you will be getting YouTube Music Premium anyway and spending money on Spotify Premium will be a waste.
In both cases, I would recommend trying YouTube Premium for a month. They offer a one-month trial without charging any money after you put in your card info.
In case you are worried about your Spotify playlists, there are many free tools available online, one of which is tunemymusic.com, that can help you transfer around 85% of a playlist from one platform to another.
Do keep in mind that it requires access to your Spotify and YouTube Music account to do so, and it is recommended to revoke the permission after you are done transferring the playlists.