Here's why you shouldn't be quick to judge Google Play Music in India
Google Play Music All Access went live in India earlier this month, offering unlimited streaming and offline downloads for just ₹89 ($1.40) a month. With access to over 40 million songs, there's certainly a lot to explore in All Access.
That said, the main problem with the service is discovery. You'll have to put in a few hours' worth of effort to get everything set up the way you want. Google is catering to the masses with All Access, and as such the service doesn't have a diverse list of options during initial setup. You'll be able to select from several local languages and pick out mainstream Bollywood acts, but if you're like me and primarily listen to metal, your choices are non-existent.
There's an easy explanation for this: Play Music is just getting off the ground in the country, and Google wants to be as inclusive as possible. It's certainly going out of its way to do so — there isn't even an option to select English at launch — and that has led to some consternation on Reddit.
Although the initial options are limited, Google's recommendation engine is one of the best out there, and after using Play Music for a few days, I started seeing suggestions for artists from the genres I care about. As more and more users get started with the service, the options that are highlighted at launch will get better over time.
In addition to Google's cast content library, Play Music lets you upload up to 50,000 songs from your own music collection to the service. You can upload files of any type — FLAC, MP3, AAC, OGG, ALAC — and Google will compress them to 320kbps MP3.
Having used Spotify for the last two years, there's plenty to like in Play Music. The service costs a fraction of Spotify premium at ₹89 a month, and while I miss the curated playlists, the content catalog is just as diverse. As there's no financial commitment to get started with Play Music — Google is offering a 30-day trial — you should absolutely give it a try. The pricing alone should make it worthy of your consideration.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.