5 Reasons Why YouTube Premium Is So Expensive

Photo of author
Written By Charlie Sipe


YouTube, a long-lived titan among content streaming platforms, sees anywhere between two and three billion users each month – making it one of the most successful online companies in the age of social media. 

Because of its popularity, it’s only natural for YouTube to delve into its own premium offering — the aptly named subscription service known as YouTube Premium. 

However, if you’ve ever looked into testing it out, you might’ve found yourself wondering why it costs such a hefty amount.

Simply put, YouTube Premium is expensive because it’s true to its name: it really is a premium service providing a range of benefits not available on regular YouTube or other platforms. 

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of this premium subscription and learn more about:

  • The main factors contributing to YouTube Premium’s expensive price
  • Other associated, specialized streaming platforms bundled together under YouTube Premium
  • A quick guide on sharing the YouTube Premium Family Plan.

Let’s dive right in!

History of YouTube Premium Pricing (Individual)

YearMonthly Price
2018 – 2023$11.99
2015 – 2017$9.99

History of YouTube Premium Pricing (Family)

YearMonthly Price
2018- 2022$17.99
2015 – 2017$14.99

Reasons Why YouTube Premium Is Expensive

Although there are plenty of contributing factors to YouTube Premium’s steep pricing, here are five especially strong reasons:

1. Convenience and Benefits

When taking advantage of YouTube’s expansive library of videos, there’s one thing that’ll quite literally stop you in your tracks — ads. 

They might be tolerable, but often, they can kill the buzz and while you wait for them to finish (especially those you can’t skip!).

Perhaps the single biggest selling point of YouTube Premium is that it doesn’t have ads. This means you can stream your favorite videos ad-free, all day long. However, this does come at a steep cost since YouTube still has to make profits somehow.

Another benefit of YouTube Premium is that you gain access to the platform’s extensive music library. Similar to Spotify Premium services, this is also ad-free, and you can even download music to play offline.

Plus, unlike regular YouTube where the music ceases to play once you lock your phone, YouTube Premium allows you to continue listening even when your phone screen is turned off.

One additional nice touch with YouTube Premium is the fact that it also supports high-definition video quality and higher frames for some videos. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth with this one if you’re looking for crystal-clear content.

2. Dependency on Subscription Funds

Because YouTube Premium doesn’t rely on funding from ads in the same way that YouTube does, it has to charge a decent fee to its users in order to keep it running. 

Subscription fees also go towards funding YouTube Originals, a video series created by YouTube. Stars such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Demi Lovato have their own YouTube Original shows. These shows are high-quality, require a great amount of funding, and can’t be streamed on any other platforms. 

Notably, however, the platform has begun moving away from making original content in favor of allocating its resources to more specialized ones, such as those that are a part of Black Voices and the YouTube Kids platform.

3. Discount Offerings

There are a few subscription options offered by YouTube Premium. The individual plan costs $11.99 for a monthly subscription, although you get to save a significant sum if you go for the $119.99 annual option.

Aside from the individual plan, YouTube Premium also has a special offer for students. At only $6.99 a month, students on a tight budget gain access to the premium service as well. 

In order to be eligible for this discount, students have to apply for and undergo annual verification to renew their subscriptions.

Meanwhile, families can pay $22.99 a month for access to YouTube Premium’s Family Plan. This is a great deal for homes with many users, especially since each member is allowed their own unique profile.

The family discount offering allows up to five individual users. With five users sharing this cost, YouTube Premium actually works out to be quite affordable.

4. Streaming Competition

YouTube is definitely feeling the pressure from the rise of other streaming platforms such as Disney+, HBO, and Netflix. With the growth of each competitor, the platform receives less traffic – which then causes a drop in YouTube’s ad viewership and revenue.

This pressure leads to rising subscription fees for YouTube Premium in order to maintain both the YouTube Premium and regular YouTube services. For instance, the family plan was recently increased from $17.99 to $22.99 in 2022.

5. Added Apple Fees

If you’re an Apple user, you’ll notice that YouTube Premium is even more expensive. 

This is because Apple charges apps for being sold through their marketplace. YouTube Premium passes this cost onto users, making the family subscription climb to $29.99 instead of the usual $22.99. 

A Guide to YouTube Premium Pricing

Apart from the all-encompassing perks of YouTube Premium, there are also a few other services you’ll be able to enjoy with your Premium subscription. We’ll take a look at them here:

YouTube Music

For $9.99 a month (Individual Plan), you can enjoy a premium music streaming service that offers suggestions based on your listening trends and download capability for offline listening. 

While regular YouTube will stop playing when you lock your phone, YouTube Music keeps the tunes flowing even when your screen is turned off.

Other premium plans offered for standalone YouTube Music are the Annual Individual Plan ($99.99 per year), Family Plan ($14.99 per month), and Student Plan ($4.99 per month).

Signing up for YouTube Premium gives you automatic access to YouTube Music Premium, saving you a huge amount of money in the long run.

YouTube Kids

YouTube Kids is a free service that creates a safe space for children to explore the wonders of YouTube without the need for parental supervision. 

Children gain access to all sorts of different child-friendly and age-appropriate content. while parents retain complete control over what their children consume and can also impose time limits on the app’s usage.

There’s something for every kid, with content covering topics such as art, sports, music, and much more.

With YouTube Premium, you also gain plenty of useful features within YouTube Kids, such as an ad-free watching experience, video downloading and offline playback, and background playing.

YouTube Originals

YouTube Originals is available to all YouTube users. These are productions that feature big-time stars and are produced by YouTube and funded by Youtube Premium subscriptions. 

By signing up for YouTube Premium, you’ll enjoy watching these shows without any ads.

How to Share the YouTube Premium Family Plan

You can share a YouTube Premium family plan with up to five family members within your same residential area. The cost of $22.99 (or $29.99 if you’re an Apple user) can be shared between all of the family users or covered by one user. 

No matter the payment arrangement, each family plan must have one family manager (or the primary account holder) who acts as the administrator of the shared subscription. 

The family manager creates the Google family group, chooses the home location, and adds and removes other members from the plan as they please. Further, this individual can’t be part of another family group.

To be the primary account holder, the individual must be at least 18 years old and have set up a Google account. Each individual family member must also have their own Google account. Age restrictions apply to those under 18 years of age.

The individual members of the plan each have their own personal profile and music library. Additionally, viewing history and preferences aren’t shared between accounts, guaranteeing privacy among the users.

If you’re the family manager, here’s how you can add new members to the family plan using your computer:

  1. Make sure you’re signed in to the Google account you used to establish the family plan and access YouTube Premium’s paid memberships page
  1. Find the “Manage membership” option and click “Edit”, which you can find adjacent to the Family sharing settings
  1. Once you’re here, click “Invite family member” and input the email address of the user you want to invite
  1. If everything’s in order, hit “Send”. You’ll be notified when the invited user accepts the invitation and joins your plan.

Key Takeaways

YouTube Premium is an excellent service, but with increasing pressure from other platforms, we likely haven’t seen the end of high costs and rising subscription fees. Fortunately, this premium service does include a number of additional perks that cater to a variety of content preferences, so its prices should still be worthwhile for the regular user.

If you’re an avid music listener, enjoy binging on YouTube Originals, or have children in the house, you’ll likely find that this suite of benefits does outweigh the cost.

2 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why YouTube Premium Is So Expensive”

  1. This review sounds like it was written by someone that works for youtube. Honestly for 11.99 a month it’s probably the biggest ripoff in streaming subscriptions going. The main problem with youtube premium, it really isn’t adding any content, that one can’t watch with the free tier. At least with most services you are getting more for your money when you go to their paid tiers. Maybe going ad free for some is worth it, but with that truly being the only benefit, I will pass on this. Besides most commercials are skippable after a few seconds anyway. In reality for every hour I watch youtube I’m getting maybe a minute or two worth of ads. To me thats not worth spending the money to eliminate

  2. It’s just too expensive. I only want to cut out the ads. I use Spotify for music, Netflix, Amazon and Disney for streaming, all I want is the YouTube videos, without advertising. I don’t want it for films, TV, or music.


Leave a Comment