YouTube Premium, now officially launching in Kenya, is set to transform the digital streaming experience for its users. The service offers an individual package at KES 499 per month and a family scheme at KES 949 per month. Subscribers will enjoy ad-free viewing, the ability to play videos in the background, and the option to download videos for offline viewing. There’s also a one month free trial to hook you in.
Additionally, Premium subscribers will automatically gain access to YouTube Music. This standalone app allows for offline listening and an ad-free music experience. For those opting for YouTube Music alone, the monthly fee is KES 419 for individuals and KES 669 for a family bundle. This service provides personalized recommendations of hard-to-find music, catering to diverse musical tastes.
This announcement follows many rants we’ve had about YouTube not being friendly to consumers. Ads have gotten so annoying. And YouTube has been thoroughly doubling down on ad blockers. What remains unclear is if creators will get to make more on the platform now that Premium is here. We also don’t know if things like Channel Membership, exclusive content, live TV, movies and more will be availed.
The launch in Kenya coincides with the introduction of similar services in Ghana and Senegal, underscoring YouTube’s commitment to innovation and cultural exploration. This initiative is expected to intensify competition with existing local market rivals, including Mdundo, Spotify, Boomplay, Apple Music, and SoundCloud, among others.
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YouTube Music is now Available in Kenya, hinting at YouTube Premium potential launch
It seems YouTube is gearing up to launch YouTube Premium in Kenya. The first sign of this impending change is the recent availability of the YouTube Music app for iOS and iPadOS users in Kenya, a development that is a little too late, and weirdly enough perhaps necessitated by Google killing the Podcast App. All the same, people will use YouTube Music a lot.
Historically, the Kenyan market had been sidelined in the YouTube Music scenario. For years, the app was conspicuously absent, and there has been absolutely no reason for this. This gap has been particularly notable given the popularity of YouTube as a platform in the country. For a while though, some Android smartphones had the YouTube Music app pre-installed, and later, the app became available for download across Android devices on Play Store. However, this availability did not equate to accessibility, as users were met with a notification of the service’s unavailability in their region, rendering the app essentially non-functional. That has now changed.
The YouTube Music app is now functional in Kenya, and users can stream content, of course with advertisements. Try signing up for Premium and you’re met with “offer not available”. This will definitely not be the case for long, as YouTube is perhaps working on a payment plan and means. Fingers-crossed they support M-Pesa payments or partner with Telcos.
Previously, Kenyan music enthusiasts who wished to access YouTube Music and YouTube Premium services had to resort to workarounds, primarily using VPNs to access and pay for the services from other regions. This method, while effective for some, was not an ideal solution and indicated a strong unmet demand in the market.
With YouTube’s popularity, the Music app brings in substantial competition for established players like Spotify, Apple Music, and Boomplay, the latter being a music streaming service owned by Transsion, a significant player in the African tech market. Each of these services has carved out a niche in the Kenyan market, with Spotify and Apple Music appealing to international music enthusiasts and Boomplay focusing more on local and African content.
The entry of YouTube Music, with its vast and diverse library, personalized playlists, and algorithm-driven recommendations, is likely to appeal to a broad segment of Kenyan users – many who’ve grown up using YouTube. The platform’s familiarity and user base provide it with a substantial advantage.
The potential rollout of YouTube Premium in Kenya could further alter the music streaming dynamics. A paid, ad-free version of YouTube Music would offer users an enhanced experience, free from the interruptions of advertisements. This possibility is particularly enticing considering the high engagement levels of Kenyan users on the YouTube platform. The transition from a free, ad-supported model to a premium, subscription-based model has been successful in other markets, and Kenya could follow a similar trajectory. Though our Netflix numbers are not yet quite there – but that’s mostly thanks to Netflix refusing to make it easy for Kenyans to pay with M-Pesa. However, if Google properly prices YouTube Premium in Kenya, I’m sure a lot of Kenyans will pay. Like we already do for Cloud Storage.