YouTube begins testing “listening controls” UI for music in main app

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Google appears to be testing new “listening controls” in the main YouTube app. A new report has images of the new experience, saying the controls are available when playing a music video.

According to 9to5Google, the YouTube app will show a small button that says “Show listening controls” when playing a music video. If pressed, a sheet will slide up that shows information about the song that’s being played, along with larger controls, including play/pause, next/last, and 10-second forward/rewind. There are also options to save the music video you’re playing, change the speed, and thumbs up.

The images show that the new listening controls being tested are for YouTube Premium subscribers only. The images also show that the feature is currently showing up in the iOS YouTube app. The person who supplied the images to 9to5Google apparently didn’t see the listening controls show up on Android, suggesting this is a very limited A/B test.

Images via 9to5Google

9to5Google has some interesting thoughts about the new UI showing up in YouTube, speculating Google is testing the changes because people are so used to listening to audio in the main client:

The ramifications of YouTube getting Listening controls are interesting for YouTube Music. So far, Google has encouraged people to open the dedicated app, which is included with Premium subscriptions.

This just-introduced UI suggests that some people are just so familiar with listening to audio in the main client that YouTube has finally relented and created an optimized in-app experience. Additionally, Google is making it a paid perk to incentive upgrades (and remove ads).

It’s unclear if these listening controls will roll out for everyone, but it’s certainly an interesting change. The UI makes controlling audio far easier and much more intuitive, so hopefully it becomes more widely available. It’s just too bad the changes appear to be for Premium members only.

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