YouTube Music is implementing a Samples tab on mobile in an effort to introduce new artists to potential fans via “short-form video segments”. Basically, it’s TikTok.
The announcement states Samples will have their home in the bottom navigation bar in between Home and Explore. Selecting it launches the personalized feed where the algorithm will display “the latest release from an up-and-coming artist or a deep cut from a legacy [musician]” the website thinks you would enjoy. Each track will be accompanied by a 30-second video clip. Swiping up on your phone screen, as you probably guess, skips to the next song.
On the surface, Samples sounds similar to the Supermix and Discover playlists already present on YouTube Music. In a recent Engadget report, YouTube Music product manager Gregor Dodson claims the algorithm for Samples is different. Apparently, the new feature is a mix between Supermix and Discover, highlighting musicians you may know while also throwing in clips you might not have seen before.
Right now, you may be rolling your eyes at the fact that yet another popular social media app is copying TikTok’s endless feed. However, considering YouTube Shorts have proven to be very popular with its user base, plus the near-infinite amount of songs on the platform, adding the same feature to YouTube Music just makes a lot of sense.
We managed to get our hands on Samples, and we have to admit, it’s pretty cool. It’s fun to see music videos you may not normally watch to then discover an awesome band you never heard of before. Be aware each snippet will loop endlessly. They won’t change automatically. To watch the next entry, you’ll have to manually swipe up on the screen.
On the side, you’ll have a series of buttons for liking songs, adding them to a playlist, sharing your favorites with friends, or using them in a YouTube Short. Tapping the three dots on the bottom right opens a menu leading to an extra set of tools. As you can see in the image below, users will be able to download songs (assuming you’re a YouTube Premium subscriber) or check out the musician’s profile.
If it wasn’t already clear, Samples is a free addition. You don’t need to subscribe to the Premium plan. Just make sure you have the latest version of YouTube Music on your mobile device. It’s currently rolling out to all users across the globe so keep an eye out for the patch when it arrives.
There are plans to expand the tech to other parts of the platform. Details for future expansions are unknown at the time of this writing.
Melding music with an infinite feed seems like a growing trend. Spotify implemented similar tech when it redesigned its mobile app. And TikTok is going a different route by preparing its own music streaming service. To be honest, we’re a little curious to see how long it’ll be until we see Tidal begin supporting a scrolling feed.
While we’re on the topic, check out TechRadar’s list of the best music streaming services for 2023.