What YouTube Music means for the future of Google Play Music
Ever since YouTube Music and YouTube Premium were announced, I've seen Google Play Music subscribers freaking out about whether to cancel their subscriptions. I've seen YouTube Red subscribers users kicking and screaming about not getting the new YouTube Music yet and then kicking and screaming about it being broken. I've seen a whole, whole lot of people who are even more confused about this than they ever were about YouTube Red's introduction.
Let's get to the bottom of this whole messy situation.
Google Play Music's development merged with the YouTube Music team a while ago, and some YouTube executives keep slipping out bits and pieces about Google Play Music being replaced by YouTube Music. There's a lot of misinformation, incomplete information, and outright panic among Google Play Music users today. Here's what you need to know:
- Google Play Music is not going anywhere this year and more than likely will not be going anywhere until at least 2020. Given that it's how Google lets people download their music purchases, they aren't going to think of touching it until they're 110% sure of its replacement.
- Yes, your Google Play Music library will eventually migrate to YouTube Music, but that isn't happening this year. Do not expect your library to magically appear in YouTube Music tomorrow; the libraries for YouTube Music and Google Play Music are currently separate and will remain separate for the time being.
- Yes, the music locker will eventually come to YouTube Music, too, but it's not there yet and we don't have a timetable. If you're that hard up to upload songs to YouTube Music, upload them in the main YouTube app as private videos and add them to playlists as desired.
- Do not panic and do not cancel your subscriptions right now. Your Google Play Music subscription is getting grandfathered into YouTube Premium; canceling right now will throw away that discount and force you to rebuild on a new platform.
YouTube Music was majorly hyped up ahead of its release, and to be sure, there's a lot in it to like… but YouTube Music is essentially a beta right now. Some albums aren't populating in search and artist pages correctly. Casting is a complete disaster. Library management is bordering on non-existent. Downloaded content is fickle, especially on phones with SD cards and which menu you play downloaded content from.
There is no proper Android Auto integration, no gapless playback, no integration with Google Play Music yet. Yes, the official library on YouTube Music is smaller than Google Play Music. I don't know when that's going to change, but Google Play Music still has it, so just listen to it there! Google Play Music is not dead. YouTube Music is not finished yet.
Can we let YouTube Music get its act together before we go projecting the expectations of a decade-old, legacy music service onto it? And can we let YouTube Music roll out beyond five countries before we start ringing the death bells for Google Play Music? Can we find it within ourselves to let Google work out the bugs before it gets on to the metric ton of insanity it needs to do before it can prepare to absorb Google Play Music?
And if you're using the new YouTube Music, submit feedback so Google knows what they need to fix, and then go listen to something that will help you chill out.
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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.