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Here's why Google Play Music needs an alarm feature

Recently, Google Play Music added a sleep timer to its popular app at long last. If you fall asleep to music, congratulations — our phone doesn't have to run your lullaby all night! It's a wonderful addition to the app, one that brings two questions to my mind: where's a Material Dark theme so we aren't blinded listening before bed, and where's an alarm feature so we can wake up to music, too?

They're designed to startle you, you learn to ignore them after a while, and they mostly sound terrible. Why would you wake up to one of those when you could wake up to music? Ever since I learned I could wake up to CDs as a little, music-loving girl, I've made it a point to wake up to some of my awesome tunes. I used a CD alarm clock, then an iPod alarm clock, and then I came to Android… and I had to find something else.

Alarms suck. Google Play Music is exactly what you need to make them better.

Faults and all — and there are faults aplenty — I love Google Play Music, but it wasn't accessible as my morning alarm. So I tried traditional alarms, and I tried the DoubleTwist alarm clock, but nothing ever seemed to click. Then I discovered Tasker. Tasker had the ability to trigger my current Google Play Music queue, giving me back the wake-up routine I had so missed since I switched to the service. I'm not gonna deny the tears I shed when testing the profile and finding it worked.

Sound the alarm

But why couldn't I do it on Google Play Music in the first place?

Well, Google Play Music tracks aren't accessible to any other apps, so unlike iPhones, we can't take songs from Google Play Music and make them alarms or ringtones directly. So that means that in order to use Google Play Music as an alarm clock, we either need an alarm function built right into the app, which I've wanted since day one, or we have to turn to some third-party hackery.

While Tasker has gotten me by for the last few years, I'm ready for a first-party solution. Millions of people wake up to music, and if Google Play Music allowed them to wake up to their app, those people could make Google Play Music a part of their daily routine. Those people would also be more likely to buy and keep All Access.

Wake up with Google Play Music

No one should understand better how important music is than a music service, and they should strive to make sure their music is what its users count on every moment of the day, whether they're drifting off to dreamland, or being drawn back to the waking world. Google Play Music needs an alarm function.

They also need a dark theme to go with it!

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

46 Comments
  • 100 percent agreed.
  • Ditto!
  • I don't fall asleep to it, but would love to wake up to it... I agree 100% with this article. Google spreads themselves too thin and that causes them to miss key features like these in their most popular apps. I hope they add it.
  • I won't use Google Play Music until they stop zooming in on the album art. Leave it they way it's supposed to be!
  • Yea that's pretty annoying but not enough to make me not use it, lol!
  • You watch the album art while listening to music?
  • I have a phone dock on my workstation where I just play music. I always leave the screen-on so its pretty nice glancing on cool album arts every now and then while working. We just like it. Its just that. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not sure if you're rooted, but if you are and you install Xposed, you can run a module called X GPM (X Google Play Music) and it allows you to change this. (along with tons of other amazing tweaks for GPM)
  • Ahahaha so true! I hate that they zoom in to album art. Makes no sense why they did that.
  • +1
    It just looks plain ugly.
  • Sometimes I think Google is terribly afraid of feature-creep. Yet this leave many Google core applications somewhat... lacking.
  • Lol Google can suffer from the "Copland factor"
  • On another note... Tune In Radio has that option (at least on the pro version)... I sometimes use it to wake up to my favorite morning show, lol!
  • I hate that app can't remember my place when listening.
  • Go to the app and report feedback for them to add the features. This applies to all apps and everything in life. You want a change in something? Ask for it directly.
  • Good advice! I just left feedback for both features and encourage everyone else to.
  • I do it all the time. They do listen. We're the customers, they want to keep us happy.
  • I have. I just want more people to do it too.
  • Added feedback for alarm and dark theme both!
  • I hope this comes soon! But can you point me to the appropriate Tasker setup in the meantime? I tried to do it using AutoAlarm and some other third party solution but no luck. Thanks in advance!
  • Oh, sure. You'll use AutoShare Make a profile with the time you want to wake up as your entrance time. Your entrance task will be a new task. In AutoShare, you'll have to get the Play Music Play up and down keys, which the AutoShare app will walk you through the first time you open it. You add the AutoShare down key action, tap the 'Find Compatible Apps' and select Google Play Music. Add the AutoShare up key and do the same thing. The biggest thing with this profile is you need to test if it work with your screen off. If not, you need to add a popup action before you AutoShare actions since pop-ups to will wake the screen and allow the rest of the task to work. (Even then, there's been a few days when it didn't trigger, remember to always back completely out of Tasker whenever you change the alarm time to make sure the change takes)
  • Interesting!
  • The app needs a complete overhaul as it's a mess.
  • Spotify needs both features... :/
  • Do other streaming services perhaps have a dark theme or an alarm clock? I think its a great idea though
  • Dark or black mode and alarm are needed features... I dont know why Google is so deaf if the heavy users demand this...
  • The ability to download one single song is way more important. I still can't believe this isn't a feature unless you create a playlist.
  • Listen to the song, then it will show up on your recent activity and then you can select to download it.
  • If you cache while streaming listening to it a few times should download it. But yeah, I agree.
  • Add the specific song to your library, then go to the album in your library (it will really only have that specific song you added to your library, despite pretending to be the album), and pin that song.
  • Just click the little three-dot menu next to the specific song, tap "add to library". ONLY that song off the album will be added to your library. Then, click the three-dot menu on the newly-added album (it adds the "album" but it's really just that one song you added from the album), tap "Download" (or Pin to Device or whatever it is these days). You can add as many songs from the album as you want, even excluding only one. Add them one-by-one to your library, and then find the new album in your library and pin it to your device. It's convoluted, but I've done it that way for three years or more. It's definitely something that's been doable for a very long time. The UI just makes it confusing, so no one realizes you can do that, I guess, judging from these comments.
  • Didn't think having a sleep option would be important. It would be great to have an alarm option or have it connected through the Google alarm. My main feature I would like added is for when you listen to music through Chromecast, you see Backdrop pictures not album art or a fireplace. Please make this happen, Google!
  • I can't give you that, but in the desktop setting for Play Music you can enable an experiment that will turn your TV into a fireplace while you listen. I've used and loved this for years.
  • It's not hard to add a song to your phone's alarm app as your wake up sound. granted it has to be stored in your phone's memory, not just available from Google Play.
  • That's what I do. Playlist for bedtime, song of my choice for waking.
  • Yeah, if you want a song to wake up to, just have it on your phone. I do this with my alarms, they're all from my music library. I think it may only be a snippet of a song, not sure, it's been a while since I set a new one up. But it is possible. I don't use Google Play music at all, I don't want to pay for access to a song, I want to pay to own the MP3. Unless that's changed, not interested.
  • The idea is (I think) to have it play different songs every day which won't be convenient with setting a song as your alarm tone. Then you'd be pissed at that song like everyone is at their alarm tones. Plus with so many people moving to streaming instead of buying music, it makes sense to have this feature in the app, as Ara says, it isn't possible for other apps to access the songs of GPM.
  • GPM needs SO much more than just an alarm. Let's start with cross device/cross platform syncing (Spotify) to start and go from there.
  • That does seem to be a glaring omission.
  • Pandora on Android has both--sleep timer and wake up alarm setting. Get with the times, Google Music!
  • I wish they would do a redesign, or at least give you the ability to change themes for the app. If Spotify offered me the ability to add my personal collection they would be my main driver.
  • Adding a wake alarm would be nice, but they really really need to add Normalization (replaygain) first!
  • Yep. They need so many things...
  • There is another small thing that Google Play Music needs... A complete overhaul of the User interface! I hate having to dig in so deep to find my playlist and other staff.
  • Wish Google didn't hate dark themes so eagerly, adding them only to apps where they're absolutely necessary. I think Google's hostile to dark themes, as it is to font size customizations in Keep or word-wrap when zoomed in Chrome. These are other Google's enemies
  • Gentle Alarm.