Android is a very versatile mobile operating system, but annoyingly the native YouTube app currently doesn’t “do” multitasking. That means whenever you navigate away from an app while a video is still playing, both audio and video cut out.
But apparently that’s changing soon. A teardown of the latest YouTube APK has revealed a new “Background Audio” setting, reports AndroidPolice.
For the majority of videos, this won’t be very useful. However, when it comes to music videos this is pretty huge because YouTube can finally become the streaming music service the world has always wanted it to be. (OK, at least that’s what I’ve always wanted it to be — as YouTube is the primary way I discover music these days.) You’ll now be able to hear a playlist of music videos via YouTube regardless of whether your screen goes into sleep mode or you’re in another application.
The initial decision to disable background audio multitasking for YouTube on Android likely has something to do with paying costly licensing fees. Since YouTube can’t very well show you a video ad or display ad while you listen to something in the background, it really didn’t make much sense to spend money on those licensing costs.
YouTube is already a sleeping giant when it comes to streaming music, with Google spending big bucks to keep content partner Vevo available on the service as well as launching its own YouTube Music Awards show. The new background audio feature should only improve YouTube’s standing as a music service.
We don’t really know when the new feature will go live at this point, and YouTube is staying silent. The streaming video giant gave VentureBeat the following statement in regards to our inquiries about the background audio feature:
“We’re always working on new and better ways for people to enjoy YouTube content across all screens, and on giving partners more opportunities to reach their fans. However, we have nothing to announce at this time.”