When listening to songs in the YouTube mobile client, Google will occasionally prompt users to open the YouTube Music app for a better experience. The main YouTube app is now testing a dedicated “Listening controls” experience for music.

When playing a music video, YouTube will overlay a “Show listening controls” chip on the video window. Tapping slides up a sheet that first shows the song/video name and channel in large text. Play/pause controls are flanked by next/last and 10-second rewind/forward actions. One interesting behavior sees the last button go back to the previous video rather than the start of your current song. Meanwhile, the bottom row lets you like, save, and adjust playback speed (increments ranging from .25 to 2x). 

These “Listening controls” are labeled as a “Premium” feature at the top of the sheet underneath the regular video window, which plays like normal and still shows the scrubber. This new feature also works when Casting content to a speaker. 

The YouTube Premium subscriber that has this feature today only encountered it on iOS, and could not get Listening controls to appear on Android. We’ve been unable to replicate it on our devices, suggesting this is a limited rollout or A/B test. 

The ramifications of YouTube getting Listening controls are interesting for YouTube Music. So far, Google has encouraged people to open the dedicated app, which is included with Premium subscriptions.

This just-introduced UI suggests that some people are just so familiar with listening to audio in the main client that YouTube has finally relented and created an optimized in-app experience. Additionally, Google is making it a paid perk to incentive upgrades (and remove ads).

More about YouTube Music:

Thanks Lennie

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