If you've ever used YouTube Music without a Premium subscription, you may have been sorely disappointed. Despite being a music app, you could only listen to music in the background if you had a subscription.
There was simply no ad-subsidized streaming like competitors like Spotify - instead, you just had to leave your phone unlocked and with the app active at all times. Now that's changing, and YouTube Music can finally be listened to in the background for free. True, for now, only in Canada.
Users in that country will be able to listen to music in the background while using the phone or with the screen off as of November 3. The feature supports ad-supported radio mixes, as well as any content downloaded by users themselves.
The company did not say how or when it plans to roll out the free background playback outside of Canada, saying "watch for more information and expansion plans." It looks like the feature will only support radio stations from the YouTube Music app, as well as "Mixed for you" playlists.
However, there are still reasons to subscribe to YouTube Music, including the ability to easily select songs to listen to, as well as download music for offline playback. The service has clearly been lagging behind its competitors for quite some time, and changes like this could mean the start of improvements to the platform.