‘Samples’ is a new way to discover YouTube Music’s deep library, not Shorts

‘Samples’ is a new way to discover YouTube Music’s deep library, not Shorts

While there have been modernizations, YouTube’s music streaming service has remained functionally and visually the same since its launch. YouTube Music is now getting its biggest shakeup in years with a “Samples” tab that is meant to be a new way to discover personalized video content.

Placed between the Home and Explore tabs, “Samples” looks a lot like Instagram Reels and TikTok. However, the 30-second content you’re seeing is not YouTube Shorts; they’re music videos and other content uploaded by artists directly that YouTube Music has vertically cropped. These Samples don’t start at the very beginning of a song but somewhere musically interesting. Official YouTube Shorts from artists might be added in the future, but the focus is on surfacing high-quality content (from an audio and production perspective) versus user-generated Shorts that just happen to feature a particular song.

The point of the Samples feed, like the rest of YouTube Music, is music discovery, specifically of videos and other performances that you might not have seen before if you primarily engage with audio instead of video. This includes music videos, of course, but other formats, like officially recorded live shows, can appear here too.

YouTube Music’s critical competitive advantage has long been the vast YouTube library of both official and user-generated content. You can already go into the Related tab, found in Now Playing, to see Other performances, like live recordings and remixes.

YouTube Music Samples

The new Samples feature very much feels like an extension of those discovery efforts, tapping into the undeniable popularity of short-form videos that are easy to consume.

This infinite feed is personalized to your music tastes, like YTM’s Home tab, rather than solely highlighting what’s viral or trending like other social apps. You might see the “latest release from an up-and-coming artist or a deep cut from a legacy artist we just think you’d really like.” No ads will appear in the Samples feed for free or Premium users.

The YouTube Music team sees Samples as a tool of sorts in which you browse until you find something interesting and then use that as the starting point of a new listening session.

In terms of UI, you get a YouTube Music logo in the top-left corner, while there’s a column of buttons on the right. Liking a Sample saves the audio version to your existing Liked Music playlist, with “Play” starting the music video in the usual Now Playing UI. There’s no option to dislike because once you see something in Samples and swipe up for the next thing, it shouldn’t be surfaced again. The currently playing Sample will loop until you move to the next thing.

“Add” brings up the usual playlist picker, and “Shorts” shows you short-form videos from the main YouTube app that have used the song. These Samples can also be shared with a link. The overflow button takes you to the standard menu. Above the persistent bottom bar, you get album artwork, song, and artist in the corner that takes you to the album or artist page when tapped.

The Samples tab is rolling out now to YouTube Music on Android and iOS and will be widely available globally for both free and Premium users.

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