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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.

Google Play Music All Access India

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 (opens in new tab) — you should absolutely give it a try. The pricing alone should make it worthy of your consideration.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Harish Jonnalagadda

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.

25 Comments
  • I like that I can listen to whatever I want for the most part whenever I want but the app is a hot mess. To much to often. It doesn't need to be so busy everywhere.
  • It doesn't accept every debit card in India.. What a joke in payment service Google.
  • Huh. What debit card are you using? It works with everything I have.
  • You can use paytm to get play store coupons and then add to google wallet...
  • You gotta have an international debit card, but even then it won't accept all of those
  • Hey unnatixlr8! You can use paytm to recharge your Google play account and then you can pay for subscription .
  • You need to turn on international use which is mostly turned off by default. You can either change it through netbanking or by visiting your bank. Failure to turn it on would give you an invalid card error code.
  • Thanks guys didn't know Paytm was able to redeem codes.
  • Doesn't surprise me. It's the same with play books, there is no way to filter on language so you're stuck with local books, which suck is you're not interested in those books but prefer to read English.
  • I am just Apple Music exists in this country.
  • Yeah, but their catalog is limited in India.
  • Their catalog is limited in India but the experience and discovery of new music and iTunes on PC great service at ₹60 (using with my college ID) PLAY Music I tried it for couple of hours and it was like... It takes too much time and Apple music is very easy and helps in discovering new music in the beloved genre...
  • It will never take off until they have deals with Bollywood music labels
  • In the beginning GPM was like 'so what if u didn't select any regional languages, we know better. Deep down u wanna listen to some regional songs'. But after using it for a while the recommendations work according to what I listen to and when I ask assistant to play me some music, it plays acc to my taste.
  • I was let down by the service initially, but it got much better after a few days. Google Home integration is great too.
  • As of yesterday I can see a category 'Western' when selecting language choices. Wasnt there 2 weeks back. I just finished 3 months try of US play music and I can say the content is pretty much the same.
  • Wait! It's $1.40 there but I'm paying $7.99? 🤔
  • Purchasing power is a wonderful thing.
  • Harish you live in India right? How did you use Spotify? Do they have it here now..? How on earth did I not know for two years that it did :o
    Also the email I had gotten said only about 14 day trail not 30.
  • It's not available officially. You need a VPN to initially register, and a U.S. credit or debit card to continue using the service after the trial. It's worth the hassle though.
  • Hello Harish, what about users who do not use the app though? I, for example use a Windows Phone and therefore am not a GPM subscriber. However, I have my own songs uploaded in the library and do use the web version of GPM. How do I make it generate English playlists for me? Is the 'learning' by our listening habits only for subscribers, because I exclusively listen to English songs even on the web GPM.
  • Don't think recommendations will work if you're exclusively listening to your own music collection.
  • It has all the music I want and at Rs 89 per month it's a steal! :D
  • Switched from Gaana and its been nice so far. Initially the recommendations dint work.. Kept showing Indian music even though I dint select it. I dint know if it was an update or it was because if the feedback I posted, that was fixed in a few days. Overall liking it so far.
  • I like it too and although the Bollywood/Hindi collection isn't as good as Saavn (it has improved a lot recently), it has all the English songs I listen to.
    I subscribe to both primarily because i don't want Saavn to close shop.