Google Play Music was a music and podcast streaming service and online music locker operated by Google, part of its Google Play line of services. The service was announced on May 10, 2011; after a six-month, invitation-only beta period, it was publicly launched on November 16, 2011. In August 2020, Google announced that the service would start gradually shutting down in September, and was fully replaced by YouTube Music by December.
Users with standard accounts used to upload and listen to up to 50,000 songs from their personal libraries at no cost. A paid Google Play Music subscription entitles users to on-demand streaming of any song in the Google Play Music catalog, as well as access to YouTube Music Premium. Users in several territories also have access to YouTube Premium. Users can purchase additional tracks for their library through the music store section of Google Play. In addition to offering music streaming for Internet-connected devices, the Google Play Music mobile apps allow music to be stored and listened to offline.
I really enjoyed using this app with my YouTube Premium subscription last couple months, but Google says that YouTube Music have improved recommendations and available on even more platforms than Google Play Music.
Samsung Galaxy S8
In April 2017, reports surfaced that the default music player on the then-new Samsung Galaxy S8 would be Google Play Music, continuing a trend that started with the S7 in 2016. However, for the S8, Samsung partnered with Google to incorporate additional exclusive features into the app, including the ability to upload up to 100,000 tracks, an increase from the 50,000 tracks users are normally allowed to upload. Google also stated that it would develop other "special features in Google Play Music just for Samsung customers". In June, Google Play Music on the S8 was updated to exclusively feature "New Release Radio", a daily, personalized playlist of new music releases. In July, the playlist was made available to all users, with Google noting in a press release that the exclusivity on Samsung devices was part of an "early access program" for testing and feedback purposes.
The History of Google Play Music
Google first hinted at releasing a cloud media player during their 2010 Google I/O developer conference, when Google's then-Senior Vice President of Social Vic Gundotra showed a "Music" section of the then-called Android Market during a presentation. A music service was officially announced at the following year's I/O conference on May 10, 2011, under the name "Music Beta". Initially, it was only available by invitation to residents of the United States, and had limited functionality; the service featured a no-cost "music locker" for storage of up to 20,000 songs, but no music store was present during the beta period, as Google was not yet able to reach licensing deals with major record labels.
After a six-month beta period, Google publicly launched the service in the US on November 16, 2011, as "Google Music" with its "These Go to Eleven" announcement event. The event introduced several features of the service, including a music store integrated into the then-named Android Market, music sharing via the Google+ social network, "Artist Hub" pages for musicians to self-publish music, and song purchasing reflected on T-Mobile phone bills. At launch, Google had partnerships with three major labels – Universal Music Group, EMI, and Sony Music Entertainment – along with other, smaller labels, although no agreement had been reached with Warner Music Group; in total, 13 million tracks were covered by these deals, 8 million of which were available for purchase on the launch date. To promote the launch, several artists released free songs and exclusive albums through the store; The Rolling Stones debuted the live recording Brussels Affair (Live 1973), and Pearl Jam released a live concert recorded in Toronto as 9.11.2011 Toronto, Canada.
Slow growth (2012–2017)
In January 2012, a feature was added to Google Music that allows users to download 320kbit/s MP3 copies of any file in their library, with a two-download limit per track via the web, or unlimited downloads via the Music Manager app.
According to a February 2012 report from CNET, Google executives were displeased with Google Music's adoption rate and revenues in its first three months.
In March 2012, the company rebranded the Android Market and its digital content services as "Google Play"; the music service was renamed "Google Play Music".
Google announced in October 2012 that they had signed deals with Warner Music Group that would bring "their full music catalog" to the service.
At the Google I/O developer conference in May 2013, Google announced that Google Play Music would be expanded to include a paid on-demand music streaming service called "All Access", allowing users to stream any song in the Google Play catalog. It debuted immediately in the United States for $9.99 per month ($7.99 per month if the users signed up before June 30). The service allows users to combine the All Access catalog with their own library of songs.
On November 12, 2014, Google subsidiary YouTube announced "Music Key", a new premium service succeeding All Access that included the Google Play Music streaming service, along with advertising-free access to streaming music videos on YouTube. Additionally, aspects of the two platforms were integrated; Google Play Music recommendations and YouTube music videos are available across both services. The service was re-launched in a revised form as YouTube Red (now YouTube Premium) on October 28, 2015, expanding its scope to offer ad-free access to all YouTube videos, as opposed to just music videos, as well as premium content produced in collaboration with notable YouTube producers and personalities.
Also read: 5 Reasons You Should Pay for YouTube Premium
In May 2018, YouTube announced a new version of the YouTube Music service, including a web-based desktop player and redesigned mobile app, more dynamic recommendations based on various factors, and use of Google artificial intelligence technology to search songs based on lyrics and descriptions. YouTube Music was provided to Google Play Music users as part of the YouTube Premium offering.
In June 2018, Google announced that YouTube Red would be replaced by YouTube Premium along with YouTube Music. As a result, users subscribed to Google Play Music in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico are now given access to YouTube Premium—which includes YouTube Music Premium. Users outside of those four countries are still required to pay the regular YouTube Premium price to access Premium features, but are given free access to YouTube Music Premium.
In June 2018, Google announced plans to shut down Play Music and offer subscribers to migrate to YouTube Music. Since May 2020, users are able to move their music collections, personal taste preferences and playlists to YouTube Music.
In August 2020, Google announced a detailed shutdown timeline starting in late August and ending with complete data deletion in December. Since late August the Music Manager no longer supports uploading or downloading music. Pre-orders and purchases were still available, despite upcoming discontinuation of this service. Since September, Google Play Music is no longer available in New Zealand and South Africa, and since October, music streaming is not available globally, and the Google Play Music app and website shut down. In December all user music collections will be deleted.
As of October 2020, the music store is no longer available.
Bonus table comparing streaming services quality
|Streaming Service||Max streaming quality||Supported Formats|
|Qobuz||24bit / 192kHz||AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, WAV, WMA Lossless|
|Amazon Music HD||24bit /192kHz||FLAC|
|Tidal HiFi||24bit / 96kHz||AAC, ALAC, FLAC|
|Deezer HiFi||16bit / 44.1kHz||FLAC|
|Google Play Music||320kbps||AAC, ALAC, FLAC, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA|
|Spotify Premium||320kbps||AAC, Ogg Vorbis|
|YouTube Music Premium||256kbps||AAC|
You can read what YouTube Team says about migrating apps and closing Google Play Music here in the official post.