Tips and tricks for getting the most out of YouTube Music

Tips and tricks for getting the most out of YouTube Music

Dhriti Datta | 20 Jun 2020

The relatively nascent music streaming service, YouTube Music, by tech mogul Google uses YouTube’s expansive library of covers, artists and albums to create a capable music-streaming app. It is quite intuitive to use on the surface level, however, if you take a deeper plunge into some of the lesser-known features and abilities of the app, you can supercharge your experience. Furthermore, if you already use Google Play Music, chances are that the company will combine these two music streaming platforms in the near future and it will be useful to get acclimated to all the tools you have at your disposal with YouTube Music. Let’s delve right into some lesser-known tips and tricks for YouTube Music.

Search by the lyrics

Utilising Google’s algorithmic prowess, users can search for tracks by simply typing in the lyrics of a song. It is probable that you’re one of the many who have had a song stuck incessantly in your head, however, you are clueless about the artist, album or song title. Instead of glumly retiring your pursuit for this track, you can simply type a few lyrics you may remember such as “Don’t turn your back on me, I won’t be ignored”. YouTube Music will, in most cases, come up with the exact song you’re hunting for, in this case, ‘Faint’ by ‘Linkin Park’. Spotify cannot do this, and Google Play Music, at best, will provide you with the lyrics video, if any, for the song and not the actual track.

Overhaul your recommendations

How often have you heard the saying “Change is the only constant”? This is mostly true when it comes to music as well and it’s possible that your taste in music is constantly adapting and morphing. To accommodate these changes and make them reflect in the content that YouTube Music recommends you to listen to you can do the entire set up process again. This is where the app asks you for your preferred language in music, the artists you like and more. Additionally, if your YouTube Music has picked up some ‘bad habits’ because of that one time your Belieber friend used your YouTube Music, you can utilise this process to set it right. Simply head over to Settings, scroll all the way to the bottom and click on Improve your recommendations. You can pick the language and artists you like again.

Smart downloads

YouTube has a nifty feature called Smart Downloads which will automatically download a few of your favourite songs when your phone is on Wi-Fi and has sufficient battery. Available on both the Android and iOS app, this specially curated list is called ‘Offline mixtape’. The app downloads music intelligently based on your listening history (frequency of listening) along with a few old favourites and downloads these for offline listening. 
To enable this feature, simply head over to YouTube Music and then tap your avatar icon. Here, click on Downloads and enable Smart Downloads. You can also precisely choose how many songs you want the app to download to this list, anywhere between 1 and 500. The best part? The list refreshes every day based on your recent listens.

Use playlists as alarms

Alarm ringtones aren’t the best tunes to wake up to. While some are too dreary to get you out of bed, some can be extremely jarring. To solve this, you can actually set a YouTube Music playlist as an alarm - your own personalised concoction to awaken you from your deep slumber, if you may. However, you can only do this with Google’s own Clock application and this feature is restricted to Android users. If you don’t have Google Clock, simply download it from the Play Store. Now, set an alarm and then edit it, tap the ringtone field and navigate to the YouTube Music tab. Here, you search for specific tracks or playlists using the floating search button or you can simply choose one of the recently played tracks or playlists the app lists out.

Nerd-ify your experience

Borrowed from YouTube itself, this feature named ‘stats for nerds’ is an overlay that details important information such as audio fidelity, bit rate, connection speed, and more. While these can be a cool addition to the app itself in terms of visuals, it can also give you important information which can help you troubleshoot any issues you may be facing with the app. You enable ‘stats for nerds’, head over to your profile icon, then go to Settings. Click on Advanced and enable ‘stats for nerds’. If your phone asks for permission for this overlay, allow it. To see these stats, play a track and then click on the three dots and enable stats for nerds.

Customise ‘Double-Tap to Seek’ 

On the YouTube Music app, when a track is playing, you can double-tap the screen (also known as Now Playing screen) on either side to go back or move forward in the track to get to the exact part of the track you want to easily. The duration by which it rewinds or forwards the track is 10 seconds, by default. However, this can be customised as per your liking. You can shorten the duration to gain more granular control over the skips or you can lengthen it to further speed up the process.

To do this, simply open the app and head over to your avatar. Go to Settings and then find the Double-tap to seek button. Click on it and now you can customise this skip timing from 5 seconds all the way to a whole minute as per your needs.

Pause your search history

Remember when we mentioned the pesky Belieber friend who messed up all your YouTube Music recommendations? It turns out you can avoid this situation altogether. So, YouTube Music needs to track what you’re listening and searching for in order for smart recommendations and even Smart Downloads to function properly. But, if you’re handing your device over to your friend for a while or simply don’t feel comfortable having Google track what you’re looking for on the app, you can pause or completely opt-out of the app recording your search history. To pause YouTube Music search history, navigate to Settings and then click on Privacy & Location. From here, enable pause search history. 

Additionally, if you notice a lot of unwanted artists popping up on your recommendations it could be because of what you are watching on YouTube. Both, YouTube and YouTube Music share your watch history and say you watch a few Ed Sheeran videos on YouTube, you may notice his music popping up in YouTube Music recommendations too, even though you don’t listen to his music or music similar to his. To avoid this, in the same Privacy & Location menu you can toggle on ‘pause watch history’. However, this will halt watch history for both YouTube and YouTube Music, so do it only if you don’t mind that.

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Dhriti Datta

Perpetually sporting a death stare, this one can be seen tinkering around with her smartphone which she holds more dear than life itself and stuffing her face with copious amounts of bacon.

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