YouTube Music has implemented a Samples tab on mobile in an effort to introduce new artists to potential fans through “short-form video segments”. Basically, it’s TikTok.
the announcement stated Samples have their home in the bottom navigation bar between Home and Explore. Selecting it will launch a personalized feed where the algorithm will show “the latest release from an upcoming artist or a deep cut from a legacy. [musician]” the website thinks you will enjoy. Each track will be accompanied by a 30-second video clip. Swiping up on your phone’s screen will, as you might imagine, skip to the next song.
On the surface, Samples looks similar to the Supermix and Discover playlists already available on YouTube Music. In a recent Engadget report, YouTube Music product manager Gregor Dodson claims that 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’ve never seen before.
Now, you might be rolling your eyes at the fact that yet another popular social media app is copying TikTok’s endless feed. However, considering YouTube Shorts has proven to be very popular with its user base, in addition to the almost infinite number of songs on the platform, adding the same feature to YouTube Music just makes a lot of sense.
We got our hands on the Samples, and we have to admit, they’re pretty cool. It’s fun to watch music videos you wouldn’t normally watch to discover an amazing band you’ve never heard of before. Note that each snippet will loop indefinitely. They do not change automatically. To view the next entry, you need to manually swipe up on the screen.
On the side, you 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 in the lower right will open a menu leading to an additional set of tools. As you can see in the image below, users can download songs (assuming you are a YouTube Premium subscriber) or view the musician’s profile.
If it’s not already clear, Samples is a free add-on. 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 is currently rolling out to all users worldwide so keep an eye out for the patch when it arrives.
There are plans to expand the technology to other parts of the platform. Details for the upcoming expansion are unknown at the time of this writing.
Mixing music with an unlimited feed seems to be a growing trend. Spotify has implemented similar technology when his mobile app was redesigned. And TikTok is going a different route by preparing its own music streaming service. To be honest, we’re a bit curious to see how long it will be until we see Tidal start supporting a scrolling feed.
While we’re on the subject, check out TechRadar’s list of the best music streaming services for 2023.