YouTube Music Picks Up an Audio/Video Toggle

Those hardy souls who are already subscribing to YouTube Music can now instantly switch between audio and music video playback.

“Today, YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium subscribers can now make a seamless transition between a song and its music video for uninterrupted listening and watching,” Google’s Brandon Bilinski announced. “[There are] no pauses, no interruptions, just a simple transition that keeps the music flowing.”

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If you’re familiar with Google Play Music—which will one day be replaced by YouTube Music, if it ever catches up, feature-wise—you may be curious how this is different from the similar functionality that has long existed in that app and service. After all, Google Play Music subscribers have been able to switch between audio and music video playback, when it’s available, for years.

It appears that the switch is better integrated into the YouTube Music user interface. In Google Play Music, you’ll see a YouTube-like Play button over the album art of a song when a music video is available. But in YouTube Music, there is a prominent SONG/VIDEO toggle right at the top of the Now Playing experience that works globally. In other words, instead of switching to music video playback on a song-by-song basis, now you can toggle it for all playback.

Honestly, I don’t see this all that much in Google Play Music, but even when that “Watch video” Play button does appear, it doesn’t sync. So if you do choose it, YouTube loads and the video plays from the start. It’s not particularly integrated.

In YouTube Music, this feature is indeed integrated, and it syncs the playback perfectly so that you can move between audio (“SONG”) and music video (“VIDEO”) playback modes on the fly. Google says that it has over 5 million official music videos in its catalog. And that it automatically trims introductory nonsense from videos when you playback in audio mode, which I will find quite useful.

You know, maybe this transition won’t be so bad after all.

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Conversation 5 comments

  • ReformedCtrlZ

    Premium Member
    19 July, 2019 - 10:20 am

    <p>I'm not saying that having standout features like this aren't a good idea to differentiate this platform.. But maybe if they worked on getting the app to have basic feature parity with GPM and Spotify, then I wouldn't have felt compelled to leave the app for Spotify XD</p>

  • wolters

    Premium Member
    19 July, 2019 - 10:50 am

    <p>This transition has been somewhat painful. My biggest issue with it is the incomplete catalog. Why can't it mirror Google Play Music's catalog? Why do they often all but one album by an artist? Other things I'm waiting on:</p><p><br></p><ul><li>Music Locker Still missing</li><li>MixTape has gotten worse. Used to be awesome…it would mix your favorites and introduce you to similar artists and now just pretty much is stuck om the same 4-5 artists.</li><li>Playlists don't shuffle well. For example, I made an R.E.M. studio album playlist starting with first album and ending with the last. It tends to shuffle the last 5-6 albums in the playlist and not shuffle the entire playlist. </li></ul><p><br></p><p>I'm still patient but spying Spotify right now. </p>

  • lvthunder

    Premium Member
    19 July, 2019 - 11:38 am

    <p>I don't see how it can do well transitioning between audio and video very well. Music videos sometimes alter the song.</p>

  • bluvg

    19 July, 2019 - 12:56 pm

    <p>This, after radio silence for… has it been two years already with no substantial updates to YTM? Google… c'mon. You have something no one else has (music <em>only</em> available on YouTube), and you're blowing your opportunity to dominate this market by the lack of attention to YTM.</p>

  • bluvg

    19 July, 2019 - 1:01 pm

    <p>This is reminiscent of Microsoft's bungling of MSN Music and its various incarnations: they had pretty much the only montly-cost, whole-catalog streaming offering available–long before everyone moved to streaming. So many dumb reasons they aren't #1 today, but rather MIA. </p>

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