YouTube’s “Premium Lite” trial offers ad-free YouTube for $7 a month

The YouTube play-button logo duplicated numerous times on a white background.

YouTube Premium is $12 a month, and the service offers ad-free videos, background play on phones, and downloading videos (both for YouTube and Google’s Spotify competitor, YouTube Music). What if you don’t care about music and all that extra functionality, though? What if you just want to not see ads?

Google is now trialing a service for that, and it’s called “YouTube Premium Lite.” For $7 a month, you would get ad-free YouTube and nothing else—no background play, video downloads, or Music Premium access.

The Verge got an official statement from Google on the project, and the company calls the service a “test offering” currently available in “Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.” Here’s Google’s statement:

In Nordics and Benelux (except for Iceland), we’re testing a new offering to give users even more choice: Premium Lite costs €6.99/month (or local equivalent per month) and it includes ad-free videos on YouTube.

We’re speculating a bit here, but the cheaper plan here seems to all boil down to unbundling the music features of YouTube Premium. YouTube Premium has always been bundled with YouTube Music—the two services actually launched at the same event back when Premium was called “YouTube Red”—and the features of this $7-a-month plan were probably designed to not trigger additional payments to music companies. In some arcane music licensing contract archived deep in Google headquarters, background and offline playback probably each count as “music service features,” which would require giving music companies more than just the ad revenue from videos. Without having to give music companies a cut, Google can lower the monthly fee.

For now this offering is just in testing, and the Premium Lite page in the US says, “this offer is not available.” There’s no telling if Google will roll out the feature worldwide.

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