YouTube Music being the default music app is great news for Play Music users

YouTube Music and Google Play Music
YouTube Music and Google Play Music (Image credit: Android Central)

Last week, Google announced that it would be YouTube Music, not Google Play Music, pre-installed as the default music app on all Android phones. Many people commented that this was terrible news for Play Music users and yet another nail in a coffin that must look like an iron maiden by now.

Actually, as a longtime GPM user, this news made me cheer. Now I can stop worrying as much about that nonsense device limit whenever I get a new phone!

For years, one of the first things I'd do on a freshly set-up phone I'd received to review was to disable Google Play Music so that it wouldn't authorize itself accidentally. GPM has a ten-device authorization limit, which is fairly normal, and a four device de-authorization limit, which is anything but normal. What made this worse was that while YouTube Music only counted devices you download offline music on, Google Play Music authorized any device you installed the app on, whether you were just streaming or downloading.

If you hit the de-auth limit, sometimes Google Support would reset your device limit, but many times it wouldn't. And if it wouldn't, then you better hope your current phones don't die, because you couldn't add any more for months. Being locked out of your own music at $10 a month for the privilege was just ten kinds of insane, and that's far less of a worry now.

This next section might be wishful thinking on my part — I am a hopeless dreamer, after all — but YouTube Music being the default should also mean that we see more and more efforts put towards getting it ready for global use, something YTM can't really say it is right now.

Apple Music is available far more places

YouTube Music is available in just over 70 countries right now, which seems like a lot until you remember that Apple Music is available in 115 and Deezer (opens in new tab) is available in 182. Setting aside the global availability, YouTube Music is still a hot mess and 18 months into this refresh you still can't even shuffle it while casting, to say nothing of how far we are from the feature parity we need before Google Play Music libraries and users can be migrated to the service.

YouTube Music is the service I use more these days because I've been swapping phones too often to risk burning an authorization on anything lately, but also because it really does music discovery and algorithms better than anyone else in the industry (at least for me) and its library is impossible to match. The core service is good if you're willing to live with its bugs, but it could be drop-dead awesome once the service is actually stable and full-featured.

My colleagues think that feature parity isn't going to happen, that GPM's music locker users will get their music in a Drive folder and get kicked to YTM or the curb. I truly hope they're wrong — because Google Play Music was the last of its kind and I don't want to go back to having two separate libraries for purchased and streamed music — but YouTube Music being the app more people use and report issues with is the next step to YouTube Music getting where it needs to be.

Or it's the next nail in Google's coffin as being utterly and eternally incapable of delivering a quality music experience.

Ara Wagoner

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.

  • the 10 device limit and limited authorization removals is a thing that only affects phone reviewers and 0.00001% of the population. That is not a reason to say that "getting rid of Google Play Music is a good idea" Every time Youtube Music gets an update I try it for a solid week, and every time I go back to play music. Youtube music is a bad application. that's not to say that Play music is especially good, in fact I loathe the play music UI. But if I am choosing between two different things with a bad UI, I'm going to pick the thing that actually has features.
  • This is exactly right. I disagree with authorisations like this on a fundamental level. But the fact is the way Google implemented it means it isn't an issue for any normal person. Even most "power users" don't go through phones quickly enough for it to be an issue.
  • It's an issue for me. I switch phones and even laptops often (the device limit also applies to pcs) and I'm not a reviewer. Also sometimes it counts the same device twice.
  • The same-device issue is what I have with it. It's why I stopped trying out unique ROMs on my device. The same phone would fill 6 slots on my GPM device list.
  • What is this, 2012? Why in the world would you need to try 6 ROMs? ;-)
  • then contact Google support and have them clear out some of those devices if you can't do it directly from the device itself. i contact Play Music support and it's done within a few minutes. btw. YouTube Music sucks and is why i'm switching to Spotify.
  • Is there any problem with purchased music? I'm the kind of guy who wants to own things, instead of subscription model.
  • If you have thousands of dollars to spend on music, sure, own as much as you listen to. But for most people, cost is the limiting factor. A subscription service is the way to go.
  • Not if you really want to support artists
  • I'm not spending thousands to support artists when I can pay $10/month.
  • If you're owning all your music GPM /YTM is not for you anyway. Get PowerAmp and be happy.
  • Not true. I have been able upload about 10,000 tracks to GPM that I purchased before I started using it in about 2013. Now none of those tracks are available in YM, not to mention any tracks I've purchased through the Play Store since then that are not on streaming services. This is a backwards step for Google and limits my access to my purchased tracks from anywhere I want them.
  • If you know how, you can own it without purchasing. With Google's unwitting Blessing even.
  • Exactly. We all agree 100%.
  • Wow, I feel soo special that both my husband and I just happen to be in that 0.00001% of the population.
  • Spot on. Flicked via the BlackBerry keyboard on my Pixel 2
  • I'm not a phone reviewer nor a power user (I don't think). I've been using GPM for the last 6 years as my primary platform and have been premium for the last 2 years. I hit the device limit & deauth limit around twice a year as kind of a minimum. As a software developer that runs multiple OS' on their machines and a second primary media device in my car I can tell you that I will be glad to see the end of this issue. To give a sense of my current issue I have 3 laptops that I regularly use through my workoad (2 of which dual boot), my main server/PC which also dual boots and then my 2 mobile devices. The number of times I've had to contact google support to get them to reset my current device registrations is astounding, it's the worst part of what is otherwise a pretty great service. I'll be sad to see GPM die but I won't miss the inane registration that takes place again everytime one of my machines receives a major update as it counts as a new registration.
  • you're definitely a power user lol, you can't be a developer and not be a power user :)
  • Your biggest complaint about GPM probably effects the minority of its users. I still use GPM, and will continue using GPM until Google gets their collective heads out of their you know where to move my damn uploaded and purchased music to YTM. And yes the "shuffle" on YTM is a joke. There's honestly still quite a few things about YTM that's a joke that GPM actually gets right. Not saying GPM is the best music player out there. But between the two, GPM still wins. Personally, I'm hoping someone invents a newer better Youtube because I know some people (I'm not one of them since I pay of GPM) who are sick of getting interrupted every several minutes to watch a damn ad in the middle of their video. And this is not an ad from the vlogger, it's a forced youtube ad.
  • When are they going to export our playlists from GPM to YouTube? I'm getting nervous that they won't do it. If I have to start fresh, ill start fresh on Spotify over YTM.
  • Exactly what I was thinking. Spotify already has their stuff together. I'm not waiting on Google much longer.
  • I hate Spotify. Terrible interface and too much trendy junk being pushed on us. We want only to curate our own music and playlists. We want to continue with GPM. We want choice to stay with it. I love the simple clean unfettered interface of GPM. I don't want to hear that it is dated. Nobody cares about that. It works well.
  • Some people do care about it's "out-dated" look, but those people are stupid.
  • I agree with the final paragraph of this article.
  • I don't. Let Google Play Music continue to live.
  • Especially since there really isn't anything wrong with it.
  • I for one hate the YTM ui. Its not intuitive at all. And I don't know how many times I've been playing music in the car and my phone display is stuck on, killing battery time, because its in "video" instead of "song" mode. And if there is no way to import my songs and playlists from GPM easily, Its not worth the hassle. Also, I have never had an issue with device authorizations, so.....
  • imagine not charging your phone in the car :^)
    (that app behavior is stupid though)
  • "and its library is impossible to match." People keep saying this, and yet more than a year later there is no agreement with Beggars Group so a number of albums I'd like to listen to are not on YTM that are on literally every other service. Since I've never once wanted to watch someone's awful cover version, this "impossible to match" library is really lacking.
  • Considering that you can contact Google Support via online at any time to have them deactivate all devices on your account makes this article seems kind of moot. I've done it plenty of times.
  • I've hit my auth limit plenty of times. The main reason is because of my locker music. Between everyone in the family we have a s-ton of owned/purchased music. It's currently all uploaded to a single account so we all have access to it. Why are we using a single account to share music? Because the only way to upload music reliably is through Chrome. And each single install of Chrome can only upload to 2 accounts. So between that and various phones and tablets for 4 people, we hit that limit pretty hard. Our other issue with this is that we can't all stream music at the same time. Hopefully that locker music gets a better upload solution or the device limit evaporates with a potential YouTube Music locker. Otherwise, I don't see a reason to switch until I'm forced to.
  • All you guys seem to care about is device authorization. Silly. As the guy up top says it affects nearly no one. Get to the true reasons why GPM is preferred:
    1. better UI
    2. best library
    3. Best ability to curate own
    4. No forced distraction from Trendy uninterested artists. Leave us to enjoy our preference. We love what works and that is GPM.
  • Amen! This is exactly how I feel. I stopped watching music videos in the 90's, for pete's sake! I want to listen to my music when I want, usually while doing something else, Don't feel like taking the time to stop and stare at a TV just to listen to music. I thought this forced migration to YT Music was a bad idea a year ago. And it still seems like a bad idea today.
  • Agree. I've been using GPM from day 1 and I'm very happy with it. Dabbled with Spotify but don't like the UI or the front pages. Currently assessing Amazon HD and very impressed by the CD quality streaming - will definitely jump ship if pushed off GPM to YTM.
  • Library that is impossible to match? YTM doesn't even have some big name bands like Radiohead. Everytime I try to recreate a playlist in YTM there are ALWAYS bands missing. Spotify's library is much more robust.
  • Until YTM can play steamed music in the background.. for free.. it can suck on deez nuts. Spotify for the win.
  • The problem I have with it is, after all the music I bought over the years from gpm, now with YouTube music, I can't stream any of it.
  • Device limits are dumb, but I get your issue. On the other hand YT Music sucks and doesn't deserve my money. It still feels like a product from 2009 that is in beta status.
  • I have a free subscription to YouTube prime that ends in November 2019(3 months free for purchasing my S10). If they don't figure out how to migrate your GPM library over to YTM, buy the end of the year, I'm moving on to something else.
  • Check out Amazon HD while it's on offer.
  • I've looked into it .. sounds sweet. The thing is they got rid of the ability to upload you own music to it. I have over 3,000 ripped songs loaded on GPM.
  • If Google forces users to change from GPM to YM without moving my playlists and purchased music etc. I'll be switching to Spotify... YouTube Music's library is a joke. And no, I'm not going to listen to the same band with a YouTube quality video.
  • Now, if only Google would integrate YTM into their other apps (like Maps), all would be well.
  • As long as your music library doesn't include Radiohead then YM's music library will be sufficient.
  • YTM has been slowly getting better but it's still far behind GPM and others. I'm not a fan of Apple Music on Android. I'm having constant issues with it. I have a "finishing up" box at the top of AM that takes 20-30 minutes to go away (I can't add music to my library, rate it, or download it while this box is there), playlists will perpetually download songs, and it often crashes when I don't have the internet. GPM has been perfect (aside from Google taking away the ability to browse by genre) and I like the interface of YTM better (mainly the dark theme and way it handles album art when playing content) but YTM still has problems. Playlists (even the automatic Liked Songs playlist) can't be more than 5000 songs, you can't upload missing content, YouTube videos often come back when searching, there's differences in the catalogues between YTM and GPM, YTM still requires the internet to display some info (whether a song is liked or not) of downloaded content, it's Android Auto functionality is awful (I want to do more than just play something I added/played 10 minutes ago), Sonos integration is just as bad, and Casting still has serious issues. Google has promised that YTM will have feature parity with GPM, all GPM playlists and uploads will be transferred to YTM, and they were working on being able to directly control Sonos speakers in the YTM app but none of that has happened and the only major bug they've fixed has been with displaying liked songs properly (liked songs used to not show as being liked across all of YTM but they are now). I hope Google gets it together. I don't want to use Apple Music, I'll probably switch to Amazon Music. I refuse to use Spotify because of their dumb 10000 song playlist/library/download limit. I have a phone with a 400GB memory card and 256GB of built-in storage, let me download what I want.
  • Wrong!
    Ara I disagree. We all want Google Play to continue. Who cares about a ten device limit?
    If you have that many devices, you need a life outside these walls.
    I am tired of bloggers pushing YTM on all of us. We are happy with GPM and want it to continue. Please stop nailing it dead. It is not and we do not want it so. Ara, you stand in the minority. Long Live GPM!
  • If I switched devices all the time, sure that'd piss me off. Google simply should remove that. The app is great and I LOATHE YTM. I have my playlists set up in GPM and YTM doesn't yet read them (multiple lists with hundreds of songs on them). Therefore, I have little interest in in even trying out YTM more than what I've already experienced with it.
  • As soon as Apple Music can be chosen as the default service for Google Assistant/Home, I'm dumping my Google music ecosystem. That device limit bit me hard when I upgraded phones last year and Google refused to reset it. The confusion of GPM vs YTM has been just silly. They should have done a full migration or something.
  • I have been on apple music free trial and I am jumping from GPM to apple music when the trial ends, it works great
  • Can you download/upload your own music to Apple Music. I couldn't find a clear answer on the internet
  • All my music from iTunes uploaded and 90% of my music was from CDs I imported to iTunes
  • What happens to your uploaded music library on Google Music when they switch to Youtube music?
  • Google claims that they will migrate over to YTM and there will be feature parity between the two. But that has yet to happen. There's rumored to be a big update to YTM that will be announced when the Pixel 4 is officially shown off but who knows?
  • Who cares? I want to stay with GPM anyway quality is the same on the phone or speaker
  • Is it really so hard to keep GPM and swap out it's UI with YTM's? This alone would be good enough for me.
  • Listen to a song in play music and listen to the same song in yt music you will feel the audio quality difference, yt music just strips the audio from Youtube so the audio quality is boogers. I love the Play music. It sucks they are letting it go.
  • That's not the case. By default, YTM streams at 128kbps AAC but you can bump it up to 256kbps AAC. The songs are official encodes, not YouTube video audio. Audio quality between the two is indistinguishable to discern. Feeling audio will get you nowhere, it's best to conduct a blind, volume-matched blind ABX test. Otherwise the differences that you hear are due to placebo.
  • I just need YTM to work in my wife's car. If a new track starts, it won't play.
  • I already spent hours recreating my playlists in YouTube Music to realise that they don't support uploading your own music like GPM does. Even if you upload your music through Google Play Music, you can't play it on YouTube Music. It's good for you 0.001% who change phones so quickly that the 10 device limit is a thing, but this article is useless to the rest of us.
  • Apple Music allows you to upload your music too so Google Play Music is not the last of its kind!! That said I would hope they bring it to YouTube because I don’t want there to be no competition on the upload front!!
  • Until my full GPM library can be imported into YTM and listened to without ads / offline than I will just stick w/ GPM
  • I'm not sure why the auth limit wouldn't migrate to YTM. Or they might reduce it to 7. I have no faith. Last month I bought a new phone and shifted some things around. I hit the de-auth limit, which was not spelled out clearly. They just said I can't remove another device. The device is now 1500 miles away and not my device, so this seems silly. I could shift everything to Amazon, but I uploaded a lot of stuff to GPM. Now I wonder if any of these uploads, the hot thing ten years ago, even matter. I could see YTM working out. I've been left behind. I am tied to playlists with DRM songs or songs from CD's. Uploading music is worthless, but it 'preserved' my collection ten years ago. It does all seem to be available just for the $10 a month. I noticed I had 67 devices authorized on Amazon, for Music and Shopping and Video, plus Audible. Audible stopped downloading. Audible support can't figure it out. This does not inspire confidence. It is a war. I have Fire Tabs and Fire Sticks and Alexas and tons of authorizations. I should abandon Google and music on Google, but they throw in the YT, which is more corrupt every month. Big Tech is what matters, nothing else. They are out of reach. Maybe you organize a campaign to remove the ten auth limit. Or just go for world peace and an end to hunger. Your call....
  • Staying with GPM here. I want my own music to enjoy. If I don't have it, I'll procure it. If I can't upload my tracks or at least match them all on YTM, I won't move to it. I might as well, just continue what I have been doing recently. GPM uploads are not kind to people with large music collections. Songs go missing or are half uploaded. Right now I am using Plex to serve my music to me instead of GPM.
  • Judging by most of the comments here, am I the only one finding a significant reduction in music quality on YTM compared to GPM, particularly on remastered versions of hard-rock albums? I've listened to several Metallica, Iron Maiden and other artists' albums on both, and I keep going back to GPM due to quality reasons. I've tried listening to these on headphones as well as my car sound system, and it's the same: GPM > YTM. Is it just me?
  • Nope. I prefer Google Play Music over YTM simply because it is cleaner and effective with a larger library. I hate that You tube keeps pushing stuff I don't want onto me.
  • Quality is overlooked in the opinion piece and the comments. YTM tracks vary more than GPM when it comes to consistent good quality sound. I suspect it is because the sources for YTM vary while YTM is curated from commercial sources. I like consistent decent streaming sound when in my car or at home. Off the subject, blow your mind with Amazon's new Music HD with many Hi Def tracks beyond CD quality. Try it with a Google Chromecast hooked to HDMI through and AVR to a good home audio system or bluetooth with a good car audio system or headphones. Don't worry about the number of devices it's no more of an issue than with YTM which means none for most users.
  • Love this : Amazon HD > Galaxy S6 > Chord Soundkey > decent stereo And if you love it too, wait for Amazon to upgrade the DAC in Echo Input, as surely they must if CD quality streaming takes off.
  • I'm one of those who believe that if something works well, don't try to fix it. GPM works perfectly for me, and its interface is easy. The YTM interface is ghastly. I want to listen to music, not watch it. As things stand, even when all of the GPM playlists and music are moved to YTM, I really don't want to shift to YTM. Google will have to do serious, major, extensive work on YTM before it's even tolerable, much less worth using.
  • Agree but why is everyone gleefully calling for GPM's demise?? I say if you care advocate for its staying power.
    What's the matter with all of you. WE WANT TO STAY WITH GOOGLE PLAY MUSIC.
  • I've had Google Play Music on over 10 devices, they must drop off after awhile, or they go away when you remove them from the Google Account. I didn't know there was a device limit.
  • Wow. What a selfish reason for disliking an app. Not all of us have your limits problem. I will be looking for a different app before I go to YTM. I own 1000's of songs and since I pay for data rather pay a fortune as a single person for unlimited, I'm not going to pay another $10/month for a service I won't use. I guess I'll be looking for a new music app or maybe just a new mobile platform if this happens.
  • I'm unimpressed.
    They should have just rebranded Play Music.
    When they kill Play Music I will probably adopt a mature product like Spotify instead.
    Google's product strategy is a nightmare at this point.
    Tired of doing free QA for products that I grow to rely on, only to have them killed when they have become mature. Ultimately most of my music is purchased through Bandcamp, and I access my collection through Plex.
  • Rebrand Google Play Music??
    How about voting to restore ot as is? I like it and want to continue with it.
  • Like hell it is! There are several things that NEED to happen before this app is even viable... 1. Transfer my entire music library.
    2. Separate play histories of YouTube and YouTube Music.
    3. Default the playback to music so that video doesn't play.
    4. Provide the same level of navigation and storefront that is offered on GPM. These are crucial to the success of this app and the future of YouTube Music. Honestly I don't think these should even be integrated at all. If I have to start over and loose everything I have purchased and curated over the last several years they will loose me as a customer. Google needs to really think this through before forcing this upon people. They did it with Inbox and now they're gonna do it again with GPM.
  • I've given YTM a chance 3 or 4 times already, and each time I end up uninstalling it before the day's over. It charges for features you get for free with GPM.
  • YTM is a disaster, a joke.
    Without my library of tens of thousands of songs, but more importantly so many audiobooks and non-song audio... I'll cancel my $10/m Google music & switch to another streaming service that's actually cared for my it's company. iTunes saved apple in 2001 with the iPod & still loyal customers with music libraries today. Google needs to educate users they can do the same with GPM... not cancel it because they suck at educating users about alternatives to Apple (i.e. not many people know they can upload their main library & should use GPM. I've converted many iTunes fans to GPM.
  • I'll switch to apple music before I use YTM.
  • I don't loathe GPM UI in fact I prefer it bub.
  • All we can say is we love GPM better and let us continue. It should be our choice.
  • How are you going to tell us that it's a good thing when you're not even using the app they're taking away from us? If they do away with the music locker there is zero reason to subscribe to YouTube music. I'll just take my family over to Spotify and figure out what to do with the thousands of songs I've paid for/can't find on any streaming platform. YouTube music is poorly thought out, poorly designed, and lacks any kind of innovative features to draw people to that platform over all the others. They're killing a good music service to try and get people to subscribe to YouTube Premium and they're idiots for it. And honestly, after years of paying for this service and investing time in curating my library and creating playlists they will kill any trust that I had in them if they don't transfer these features and libraries.
  • All I can say is multiple profanity words, but of excitement finally
  • The only thing I don't like about GPM is the the fact that you can't upload music from your phone. I don't have a computer and since our phones are small comps it doesn't make sense but that's my only gripe and GPM does what is supposed to do: play music
  • I have nearly 400 albums which I have bought through the store . How can I transfer them to You Tube music. Can somebody help me here ...
  • I buy my music on physical CDs precisely because I can't trust any service to preserve my rights to bought downloads. I have all my ripped CDs in GPM and I don't trust Google to make them similarly available in YTM. So I use iBrodcast as a backup. What a dumb situation!
  • Google are listening... We're not happy! Just make some minor improvements to GPM and bag YTM.
  • I really like GPM and use it pretty frequently. The main thing that worries me is that Google has not updated the app in awhile. Not just for aesthetics but also improvements and security. I despise how Google is forcing me to YTM.
  • The deauth limit is what kills me. It used to be worse when I was repairing and selling phones all the time. Eventually learned to test audio, speakers, and Bluetooth with just YouTube videos, but sometimes I'd repair a phone use it for a month or so before selling it. I don't do that anymore, but my issue is I get the same device listed multiple times. This is the ONLY Note 10+ I've ever owned or logged into. I have switched carrier firmware or anything (because that will sometime trip a duplicate device I've found). All I did was factory reset it due to some software glitch. Now in my GPM device list, I have two N975U1s listed. Sold my Note 9 and my Tab S4. So deleting those two, the duplicate N10+ and a laptop and I've got my deauth limit for the year. Now what happens when I get the Android 10 beta and do a fresh install? I'll probably get ANOTHER N10+ listed. It's not as hard as some people think to hit that device limit.
  • YTM SUCKS! It doesn't even come close to GPM. I was playing around with it and all I can say is they better bring all the features of Google play music over, or I'm ditching it. When you add an album to your library, you would assume the artist would also be added, like all other streaming music services. Not the case with YTM. I added Highway to Hell by AC/DC to my library. Then I clicked on artist.. no AC/DC. Then I clicked on songs.. no songs by AC/DC. The only place, where it was added to my library, was in albums.
  • But how the YouTube Music app will be a default one, and the app don't work in all countries? 🤔