If you’re trying to figure out a solid long-term play to juice sign-ups to a subscription service, hooking people as early as possible is a smart way to go, providing you can sign them up early and keep them over the long term, of course. We’re seeing a number of services go this route, with YouTube being the latest to start offering discounted student plans for the ad-free version of YouTube as well as its subscription music service.
Spotify started offering half-priced student plans a few years ago, and then last year added a student bundle that includes Hulu and Showtime. Apple Music went down the same route in 2016. In a company blog post today, YouTube says its new student plan for YouTube Premium will cost $6.99 instead of the normal $11.99 a month, and for YouTube Music Premium the cost is $4.99 as opposed to $9.99 a month. Students who sign up by January 31st can also lock in a special rate of $5.99 a month for YouTube Premium.
By way of explaining what the offerings themselves actually are, the post notes that “YouTube Music is a new music streaming service with official albums, playlists and singles, as well as a vast catalog of music videos, remixes, live performances, covers and more — all with ad-free, background and offline access. YouTube Premium extends that ad-free experience across all of YouTube, and includes access to YouTube Originals.”
The video component is the way YouTube’s premium music offering seems to stand out against similar offerings from Pandora, Spotify and the like. You also get access to covers and live versions of songs that live on YouTube that you can’t find anywhere else. And paying for the monthly version not only strips out the interruption of ad breaks, but you also can keep listening in the background and download tracks for offline listening.
YouTube says that the student discounts can be taken advantage of if you’re a full-time student at any accredited college or university in the US. Other countries will get access to this deal sometime in the future. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen how much a boost this will give to YouTube’s subscription base. As of now, Alphabet-owned YouTube hasn’t disclosed how much of its monthly base of 1.8 billion users subscribes to its premium offerings.