Starting in Canada, YouTube Music will offer free background listening

One of YouTube Music's most vexing restrictions is being lifted — but only in Canada. Customers in Canada will be able to listen to their music in the background while doing other tasks on their phone or when the screen is off starting November 3rd, according to YouTube.

Both the standard ad-supported, personalized radio mixes and any uploaded content you have added to your account will be supported by background listening.

This is the first time YouTube Music has made the feature available without requiring customers to upgrade to a Premium subscription. When it comes to when listeners in other countries can expect the same convenience, YouTube only says to “stay tuned for additional information and expansion plans” for the time being.

YouTube Music's competitors, such as Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Tidal, and others, all offer free background listening, so this is an area where YouTube falls behind. Hopefully, that expansion will begin as soon as possible.

Even if background playback is limited to the free tier, YouTube Music Premium offers a number of other advantages, including the ability to listen to music without ads and seamlessly switch between regular audio and music videos.