YouTube Music has recently been on a fast track of updates; no sooner had we uncovered one new feature than two more pop up. The latest change that's been spotted is support for unreleased albums. Like Spotify and Apple Music, YouTube Music can now show you the full track list of an album before its release, as well as let you pre-save or download it.
If the feature has been made available to all artists, it doesn't seem like everyone has adopted it just yet. For example, searching for Lady Gaga's "Chromatica," which will be released in two days, doesn't yield any result. The album isn't on Gaga's artist page either.
But some other artists have made use of the feature already. For example, Sébastien Tellier's "Domesticated" (to be released on May 29) and Neck Deep's "All Distortions Are Intentional" (to be released on July 24) are both available in YouTube Music's search and on their corresponding artist pages. No specific version of the Android app is needed, and this works on the web too.
Left: No result for Lady Gaga's imminent "Chromatica." Right: But it found another upcoming album.
The albums contain the entire track list, including both released and unreleased grayed-out songs. Tapping one of these brings a pop-up that says the song is unavailable, but there's no explanation for the reason. Better wording should be used to clarify that the track will be released on a certain date. It would also be nice to see an indicator next to the album title that shows it as upcoming and indicates the release date.
You can save the full album to your library or download it to listen offline. We don't know how exactly that last part will work, but common sense says the currently available songs will be immediately downloaded, and the rest will automatically follow suit when they're released.
Music fans and subscribers to Spotify or Apple Music should be familiar with this feature. Most artists provide pre-save links on both streaming platforms so their avid listeners can grab their new single or album the moment it's released. If YouTube Music wants to solidify its contender position, it has to grab enough mind share to become the third platform artists publicize their albums on prior to release, and providing them with the option is the first essential step. Now we just need more artists to start using it.
- José Ulisses