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Google Play Music shutdown begins with Google axing Artist Hub on April 30

When YouTube Music debuted in May 2018, we knew it was only a matter of time before Google started chipping away at Google Play Music to shift its focus over to YouTube Music entirely. Today, we're seeing this starting to take effect with the death of Play Music's Artist Hub.

For those that may not be familiar, the Artist Hub is a tool that allows smaller/independent artists to stream and sell their content on Play Music and the Play Store without needing to partner up with a third-party label. However, on April 30, the Artist Hub will shut down.

Per a notice Google recently issued:

With the launch of YouTube Music last year, we eventually plan to replace Google Play Music with YouTube Music. In anticipation of this change, we are shutting down the Artist Hub.

Once April 30 rolls around, songs that were managed via the Artist Hub will "no longer appear in the Google Play Store or Google Play Music service." Should artists want to move their songs over to YouTube Music, Google recommends they partner with labels such as AWAL, TuneCore, DistroKid, and others.

While major songs and artists won't be affected by this, it is a notable change and likely the first of many to come to Play Music as Google transitions people away from it and onto YouTube Music. It's certainly annoying if you're still using Play Music, but it's also not unexpected considering its current state.

YouTube Music: Everything you need to know

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

74 Comments
  • The problem with Google chipping away at Play Music is YouTube Music is still not ready to exist on its own without Play Music. It will still take some time for Google to fully develop YouTube Music to have the same effect as Play Music. Not to mention that they still need to move play lists and library's over before we can even say the YouTube is worth using right now.
  • Pretty much what I intended to say as well. Devaluing the one thing I still use while not adding value to the thing you say I should be using is no way to keep me as a customer.
  • Agreed. Very annoying and stupid to start removing features from one platform before they have been added to the other....just read an article the other day about Google's propensity for killing off projects -- even ones doing well -- and how it's affecting customer trust with Google products. Safe to say here's yet another thing to add to the list.
  • This is exactly what I've been going through. I've been slowly removing myself from direct Google services. Each time they've dropped support for something to replace it with something else, instead of picking up the replacement, I've just been moving to an alternative or if at all possible, creating my own. I'm getting rather sick of companies dropping something entirely to replace it with something similar, but half baked compared to the previous offering.
  • Yeah , and if anything I like YouTube and I can see why Google wants to make it the primary source of our media consumption but it needs to have everything play music has or at least a better version of it before you can start chipping away at Play Music
  • I go to Youtube for videos, I went to GPM for music. If anything I'd like to see a stripped down version of GPM. I always thought it was too full of extra crap. This might be the thing that moves me over to Spotify finally.
  • Enjoy the inferior audio quality that Spotify has to offer.
  • Not true at all if you have Spotify Premium and select the high quality option when streaming. Quality is the same.
  • Not really, because when I had it and selected the very high option, it still sounded more compressed compared to YTM/GPM.
  • I believe most end users have spoken with their preference and Spotify seems to be doing pretty well. The Premium version was our daughters favorite Christmas gift. Girl loves her Spotify.
  • GPM definitely has the best sound quality of any streaming service I've tried (maybe Apple on iOS has them tied, haven't listened to that in a while though). Sadly, the last time I tried Spotify about a year or little more ago, free Pandora (on whatever the highest quality they offer for mobile) sounded better than paid Spotify on highest quality...I couldn't listen to it...the treble, specifically, was just disgusting. I get a free 6 month subscription of Spotify premium with my phone, so I'll possibly change my mind when I get around to activating it.
  • So what is the format and bitrate of Spotify on high quality?
    Just asking because I'm shopping around.
  • right, I am eager for the day that youtube works in android auto.
  • I think YTM does work with Android auto. Youtube with AA would never be supported by Google. Too much of a safety risk.
  • Youtube Music does work with android auto but not as good as Spotify or Google play music or apple music does
  • I don't understand how it doesn't work as well. Works fine for me and seems to have more options than GPM.
  • For me YTM won't autoplay when I get in and it connects to the car. GPM, Amazon, Spotify, Pandora all do, but YTM simply will not. It's not a huge deal, probably, but it's such a small simple thing that doesn't make sense.
  • Totally agree.. so much is still missing
  • yeah, like a world wide release, they want to replace GPM, in my country I don't even have YouTube music available...this is bs.
  • My thoughts exactly. Even though it'll be a long phase-out I'm sure, this is so disappointing. It's a bit like with Allo (which I used but I'm aware no one else did) - when RCS support was added to Messages, I naively thought Google might bring over Allo's best features when shutting Allo down. No such luck. I've been using (and subscribing to) Play Music for years, and I can't stop these knuckleheads from shutting it down, but they could at least provide a seamless (and painless, and subscription-included) transition. Not holding my breath for that.
  • Yup, very true.
  • 100% agree! They need to get their new service up to par before they start closing the old one!
  • In fairness to Google they haven't announced ANYTHING regarding shutting down GPM. This is just one segment that is affected. Nothing seems to be changing for GPM music owners for the time being.
  • yes, under Sunar Pichai google is led by idiots who take care more about naazi censorship, gender or multi culti "problems", just inferior product "managers" with lower intelligence have stayed in google like everywhere in the "west" :)
  • IF you are Amazon Prime, then Amazon Music Unlimited is a great way to go at 7.99 a month.
  • Indeed.. And one more Google product I can uninstall. If it wasn't for Android I wouldn't use any Google products.
  • It's pretty good, but I haven't found it to be as intuitive as GPM and personally I don't like the app as much in both iOS and Android. But it's a solid option for sure.
  • Solid?
    WTF are you talking about. All YouTube music is, is a playlist generating portal for kids with no music if their own and who want to be told what to "like".
    In other words it's
    just another shot at the teen / tween "social" crowd. All of whom have the attention span of a gnat on Ritalin. And the loyalty of trump.
  • Yes great service. 6 months free with any new Echo purchase over the holidays. Still cannot get my daughter away from Spotify. She says (I don't know) that it has to do with creating her play lists
  • If they're shouting play music down, i wonder what they're doing about people who were unfortunate enough to have faith in their platform and purchase content from there? Probably just send them an email saying "u r sol lol"... I'd advise people not to bother with YouTube music, only a matter of time until Google cancel it. Go with a company that are actually committed to the content and service they provide.
  • I thought you could download music you bought from it? I'd really hate if they kill off the matching service though, I love having my whole library available everywhere.
  • All this news about Play music shutting down and getting chipped away is pushing me into Spotify not YouTube Music. That app is trash. They really need to give up on YouTube Music or give solid dates (before dumping GPM) on when these Play Music features will be in YouTube. If I can't have the music I uploaded to GPM in YouTube and My playlists transfer, I'm going to leave for a competitor. Google get your act together! Stop announcing replacement apps/services that are no where near ready to replace anything.
  • I must have a knack for picking music services destined for shutdown. I had all my music in OneDrive and streaming through the Groove app, but that functionality was removed recently. So I uploaded all my music to Google Play Music and have been streaming from there, but it sounds like that will be going away as well.
  • Exact same boat! Really liked Groove and moved to GPM. Wonder which one we'll kill next...
  • Crap. I hadn't even thought about stuff I uploaded. I have some out of print stuff that isn't available on GPM. I hope that stuff transfers over but I assume it won't.
  • This is bullshit. Changeover should be seamless. This is screwing over smaller artists. I hate YouTube music. Man Google is really ticking me off this week.
  • I know it's certainly no small thing to develop a music app, but Google come on, there is no excuse for Youtube Music to be taking this long. A few things here:
    1. Google already has done it with GPM, so Google has extensive, current experience in developing streaming music apps already. GPM started in 2011 for god's sake. This is not some startup trying to "figure things out" here.
    2. We're now coming up on A YEAR since Google announced they are moving to the new Youtube Music officially (not to mention YTM has been around since 2015). A giant company like Google with all their resources WORKING FOR A YEAR ALREADY, has now produced what exactly a year later? It's getting harder to accept "it's gonna take time" for this or that tiny feature to finally makes its way to YTM. A year ago when announced, it was barely credible. Now, a year later, time has passed Google. Get it together already!
  • Why, why, why is this happening? YT Music kills my phone battery, hiccups constantly, loading takes forever sometimes, the additions that have been made suck, and to top it all off, they lie about what they are doing to improve it. Wasn't there an article back in August where they were supposed to add things weekly or biweekly? What has happened since then? I can't really tell, but not that much. I am an Amazon Prime member, but hate the Music Unlimited almost as much as YT. Spotify is looking more and more like the better alternative. Just wish I could send everything over. All that obscure music I've gathered over the many years with Play Music is just gonna go down the drain and forgotten. Wonder if artists will band together and come up with a way to Better protect themselves from crap like this
  • Maybe I'm in the minority on this, and maybe the implementation will be good once they actually get Youtube Music fully integrated. But I don't like the idea of my music/video services being integrated. Sure I like the occasional music video, but when I want to listen to music, I just want to listen. I don't need video. I don't know, I'm just whining b/c I've been on GPM for years and I'm frustrated they're getting rid of it, even if Youtube Music ends up working well. I've tried Amazon for a year, and it's not bad, but I haven't liked the app as much, it seems to be missing some music (or has slightly different versions) based on our libraries and playlists, and just doesn't seem to be as intuitive. So I feel like I'm being forced to move, but I have no idea where to... I use an iPhone mostly, so Apple Music isn't a bad option. But it always tries to takeover bluetooth in my car which is a real PITA, even if I'm in the middle of listening to something that's not in Apple Music. Maybe I'll go back to *not* having a streaming service and just buy/download some of the music we have in our playlists since that's most of what we listen to anyway... and stick with Pandora for "radio"... /end_whining ;)
  • Then use the option that omits music videos then.
  • I wasn't aware that existed.
  • It's been there since January
  • I don't even see that option anymore. Perhaps it's been removed.
  • It's a huge red toggle button at the top of the Now Playing screen in YTM.
  • **** em I'm on Deezer & it's great. Has Google any products that are really worth having?
  • Agree with the comments stating YouTube music is not ready. What happens to entire albums I purchased through GPM? I already lost music through iTunes. I do have Amazon Music, but the UI is cluttered and messy.
  • Well, Tidal is on the ropes and losing customers. I shopped around and am going to give Qobuz a try.
    Quality levels begin at 320 kpbs MP3's, and max out at 24 Bit Hi-res @ 192 kHz. Still shy of HTC's 24 Bit Hi-res at 396 kHz capabilities, but WAY better than YouTube's lossy 128 kbps. And suddenly, I don't think 300 GB of storage on my phone is a waste, lol.
  • I don't subscribe to it so I guess I'm ok with this. I really only use it for storing and streaming my purchased library. So as long as there's a way to continue to do that and add my new purchases to it, I'll be fine. The free ad supported "radio" is fine but I only use that during parties.
  • I wonder what will happen to the album's we own on GPM
  • A multitude of members have already expressed my many complaints about this idea, so I just want to say one thing: this sucks!
    Unless YouTube Music has MORE to offer...leave GPM the hell alone!
    Thank you.
  • That's why I will never invest in the Google eco system. Once you're fully involved in a service, here comes big G and axes it. Besides the fact that I never used Google music (Spotify is way superior), this is just another example. I hope they'll never cancel maps - the only service I use and, actually, need!
  • My only issue with Spotify is the lack of an option to upload your local library. I'm with you, though. Slowly migrating away from Google... trying to find a good Gmail replacement (this has been tough...), and Google Photos is the other one that is going to be really hard as I have 15 years of history with that service...
  • Agreed. Would be nice to add "local" music to my Spotify stuff. Amazon Music at least plays both, off and online.
    As to Gmail, I chose a German provider and I hose to pay for it. No one reading my mail but me. No scanning, no logging, no data snooping of any kind. Prices from $1 a month.
  • As most of you have already said, this is a terrible move until YouTube Music is at least as good as Play Music, which I also fear it won't be until launch. But at least they have said they're going to provide a migration path for playlists and preferences and stuff here: https://support.google.com/youtubemusic/thread/160712?msgid=160712 At least that's something, I'd really hate losing all of my liked tracks, added albums and artists and created playlists (although that last one does need a bit of cleaning up 😛).
  • Once that's all migrated, I just don't want it pushing me to videos instead of songs... which it sounds like there might be an option in YTM to somehow keep them separate.
  • That link is just a wishlist. Everybody misses the Google legalize "were planning on"
    Which means nothing. They have had 4+ years to add missing stuff. The product is finished. What you see is how it's going to remain
  • Ya, I'm concerned I'll loose all my purchase tracks.
  • What will happen to all of our Google Play.....playlists and Albums?
  • See the link a few posts up...
  • What do the people at Google do!? I mean they are not short staffed are they? YouTube music is still awful, no progress has been made with it, what are the developers doing? Gmail the same, the best bits of inbox HAVE NOT moved over! Pichai is a fool.
  • Looks like I'd better accelerate my GPM downloads before I switch to Spotify.
  • why does google keep doing this? from a customer perspective, this is bad. merge the two products together, don't shut one of them down.
  • YouTube music hasn't changed one bit, other than the typical Google cosmetic **** since it's introduction way back in 2015!
    The 2018 "reimagining" was just Googles, version of Madison Ave. Blowing smoke up ones ass. YouTube music sucks. Period, full stop.
    It's not ready to replace anything.
    Google could have and should have fixed all this in about 5 minutes of entry level coding and app development last year. By simply renaming Google play music to YouTube music. Fixed! Finished, everyone's happy. But in typical Google fashion they didn't. They sent out a tweet had a staged and meaningless 15 minutes Q&A and then, spread some rumors. That's it Just as sadly and in typical tech journalism fashion, Every site and blogger has run with this info as the gospel and to this day, still report about all these coming "missing" features from GPM. None are coming. If they wanted them here, they would be here by now.
    YouTube music was introduced in 2015! Not 2018 and Nothing's changed.
    If you haven't figured that out yet. You haven't been paying attention and shouldn't be writing about it. The most important feature if GPM, the music locker, is dead. Google never figured out how to monetize that Uber expensive to maintain, data into ad revenue or were able to sell it. It's just math at this point.
    But Google doesn't have the balls or the decency to announce it. For the past year, People have screamed from the roof tops. They don't want their Audio music LISTENING combined in anyway with their Video music WATCHING.
    But Google refuses to relent.
    Factor in, the fact that for the last 5 years YouTube videos have been available in GPM, and nobody cared or used this feature seems to have escaped notice from the geniuses at Google.
    So, Instead of learning why. Their fix is to kill a perfectly working (though long neglected) service GPM and replace it with what nobody wants.
    Only at Google! Sadly but predictably, the brain trust at West Bombay, (Google) actually believe they are going to get people (kids) to pay for a service, they have had for free since it's inception! YouTube is on its second generation of people who have never and will never pay for it or any other service on the web. They will happily wait 3 to 5 seconds and click Skip Ad! In the nearly 5 years of offering the ability to not have ads on YouTube, YouTube red etc. They couldn't sell enough subscriptions to have a rounding error change to their revenue. They had to give it and Background play away as an add on (enticement) to a GPM subscription!
    Take those two features away and they would have how many subscribers for YouTube original content? NONE! Now, Imagine being one of the few advertisers on YouTube, knowing EVERYBODY clicks skip ad and that the company your paying (Google) for a fee, will let's it's users never even see your ads!
    What a well thought out ad sales strategy that is Google!
    Does anybody whose IQ is not single digit, Think those advertisers get any of that revenue?
    Better yet, Think Google uses total views as the main metric for selling this advertising with no mention of how many never see the ads or click Skip! Bottom line, YouTube music is just another chrome based portal to access content already available in the superior YouTube app.
    Save your money. What you see today and have seen since 2015 is EXACTLY how YouTube music is going to remain. In Googles mind, it's a finished product.... That is, Until they deprecate it for their next great idea of a chrome based, Bombay designed music service. Named of course, Google music! At this point, I'm just shocked Bollywood content isn't on the home screen of every Google app and service!
    Sundar needs to go and Google needs to get it's head out of apples ass!
  • I'm not a huge fan of this change either, but there's a lot in your comment that's just plain false... there's some truth as well, but still...
  • What's false. Not a single thing
  • I agree with everything you said.
  • Google, for the love of all that is good in the world, please transition my GPM playlists automatically.
  • I got a 6 month trial with Spotify when I brought my S10. I might keep using it if YouTube Music doesn't improve.
  • I'm still not exactly sure about what the article is saying. Does this mean we will have to move to another platform such as spotify for mainstream artist music subscriptions, or is youtube music becoming the subscription platform?
  • The quality of YTM has been poor, so that is another reason I don't want it. But, Tidal might be going under, so I guess I'll have to find something with decent quality, or go back to ripping my own CDs.
  • Funny because I have found myself using YTM more lately because I noticed the stations play music I seem to like better. GPM was never too good at playing new music I liked. I found myself skipping alot. With YTM I skip less and thumbs up more so they must be doing something right for me at least. Plus the interface actually looks modern compared to the still "battery saver mode" Orange of GPM. I'm using both about 50/50 right now. No complaints about YTM so far, but I don't have my music uploaded to GPM and that seems to be a sticking point in most of the comments here.
  • This is why I spend my money with Pandora. I just hope they move over my vast library that I've loaded up the GPM over the years.
  • Say what you want about Apple but at least Apple doesn't adopted the scattergun approach like Google does. Seriously what's wrong with Google these days? I wouldn't be surprised if Google kills off Google Play Music completely eventually.
  • google is led by incompetent idiots under Sunar Pichai, therefore just an idiot trusts in ANY google app :)
    these inferior naazi censorship idiots dont know what to do at all :) I'm moving away from all the google apps because google is so dumb to axe almost everything soon :)