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.

Let the sun shine on

Let the sun shine on, 'cause it's all alright...

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.

Early Access

It is called Early Access for a reason.

Google Play Music being absorbed into YouTube Music is too far down the road to think seriously about right now.

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.

No. Stop it. Bad!

If this is what you think things look like right now, you're wrong.

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.

YouTube Music: Everything you need to know!

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.

  • Stop making excuses for another terrible rollout by Google.
    Why is there no article that calls out the BS and is honest that this is only making Google's service look bad and many of their users especially long term users frustrated?
    I feel like I'm reading Windows Central and the excuses they made for Microsoft for years.
  • Spot on, JR. Just another Google unforced error. So tired of it.
  • I have to say I agree here. Though I don;'t know why you need the tone. They are just EXLPAINING things that Google utterly screwed up presenting. Both can be things, you know:
    (1) Google has yet again made a friggen mess of explaining overlapping services
    (2) A/C has done a good job of explaining what Google has not
  • Disagree with you a bit here. First few posts about this app made it seem either rolling out slowly, as in staged. Not, these services are to be integrated later, by 2020.
  • So why are you so frustrated when literally everything can be as you want it by continuing on with Google Play Music?
  • Just a basic app. Really a waste of time for me to search for music that I already have elsewhere. Why are we even talking about something that is only 10% of what it will be? The onus here is on AC for hyping a severely limited music/video app. Talking about all these features that aren't even possibly coming to the app this year. How about this be the last YTM(P) article until the service is actually useful to those with existing Play Music accounts? The only time I get frustrated is when I read an article about all these features, but no disclaimer that these features aren't live, and the author doesn't know when they will be. That statement should preface the whole article, in every article.
  • Google, again, putting the cart before the horse. They really need to work on actually having a product ready if they are going to announce sweeping changes to existing paying customers. Or have at least some clear time tables. I, also, agree with other commenters, AC should preface these articles with the current state of the app. Such as, if it is early access, not available yet, or still rolling out. I have read several articles here about this and how the "New" YouTube Music works but can't for the life of me get it. It appears to be account specific and not APK specific. So I'm really confused trying to follow your instructions.
  • Well I can't complain, here in Canada we are just stuck with Google Play Music only. I'm happy with GPM but am hoping for the interface refresh that comes with YouTube Music when it finally gets rolled out here. Would have been nice for the YouTube Red option here, but that will never happen now.
  • Here is my take as to why most Google app/services fails. Serving them up half-baked and sometimes even lacking some of the basic feature of an app/service leaves a sour taste to most consumers. Saying "but its beta! Great things will come!" ain't gonna convince anyone but the most hardcore enthusiast to stay. If its in early access then keep it away from the general consumers and do your test internally. For a multi billion tech company they sure can't get the basics of software development.
  • "If its in early access then keep it away from the general consumers and do your test internally." Well considering the only way to get it is to sign up for early access (And then a crapshoot on when you actually get. lol), then I think only people who even know about it are those of us who go to techie sites.
  • There should've been a shot to companies doing early access of their products and using it as an excuse for releasing them half-baked on my original post somewhere but I forgot to add it in. Ironic cause I'm talking about unfinished products.
  • Or have an embargo with the press until ready.
  • Lesson of the day - Be Patient. I have been one of the few checking the website and looking for app updates daily.
  • Same here, just wish it would release already. I don't have my own music and enjoy the YTM app as it is. Just want the updated one now. I'm sure it's going to be great. Just give it to me!
  • Woohoo, just did my daily check and finally got it.
  • If it wasn't for YouTube Red being bundled in with my Google Play Music, I would have already ditched it and gotten a Spotify account for my family. I hate the way Google rolls things out, changes services constantly, and basically beta tests everything with the public. This is like their completely disastrous attempt at messaging...
  • This X 1000.
  • PREACH! So sick of this.
  • This is exactly what happens when you release not finished product to the market. Heck, they even want you to pay for that. Stop making excuses for them, people are not confused without a reason.
  • Not even released to the market really.
  • We wouldn't have gotten out the torches and pitchforks if Google had handled this launch properly. What they should have done is keep YouTube Music a secret while they are working on it. Then, when it's ready to replace Google Play Music and all the bugs have been worked out... and the music catalog is complete, THEN ANNOUNCE IT. Kind of like the way Apple launches a product. Announce it, and say that it is available TODAY, for EVERYBODY to use! "We have listened to your complaints about Google Play Music, and we have made some changes that we think you will like. Volume normalization. No more 1000 song caps on playlists. Your playlist can be as long as you want it. The mobile app now has a dark mode. Radio stations have improved." Let's be honest and stop making excuses for Google/YouTube. Rolling out a terrible beta app over a month or two is not going to get people to leave Spotify or Apple Music.
  • Well written and well reasoned story. I think I agree with most if not everything you said. I've seen nothing from Google that said drop everything and move to YouTube Music now. In fact the message has been, 'YouTube Music is coming, sign up for early access, we'll let you know when the service is available. '
  • Actually its Not a well written and reasoned story. It is the exact opposite!
  • JR is spot on. So sick of the Google unforced errors. Get it together, Google before you mess with products people love and use every day. This is infuriating. I wish there was a viable other option.
  • I really like YT music so far. It's not perfect but it's interface and search features are nice. Google Music is still there and still works great. I like having both until the kinks are ironed out. Not sure where the outrage is coming from. Seems like they are doing a cautious migration. People seem upset for some reason and are not forced to transition or use this beta version. Also if it's awful when it's fully baked you can go elsewhere. I don't get being upset with Google or upset with AC.
  • I'm so confused about why everyone is blaming Google for something they didn't do unless I missed something... How many of us would've actually known about the May 22nd date if it wasn't for tech sites pushing it to be a big new overhaul? Google announced it but never really said, to my knowledge, when it will happen but all of us... Me included... Saw the date on the sites and thought they were gonna have a global release but if you look at it they never said they were and it has been kept from the public... You have to sign up to receive this so.... Who is really to blame for our deceit?
  • Maybe because... Everything you ever found out about Google. Youtube, Android GPM etc comes from tech sites. Which is part of the reason Customers are fed up!
    Google NEVER tells customers anything. They constantly Roll out 1/2 baked ideas, "Fixes" or outright replacements for Non-Broken apps and services and leave it to the customers to figure it out.
    their sole answer to Everything is - Send feedback / visit the google Help forums.
    Google and Only google is to blame for the deceit. this is how they do business. Always have and Always will. Now, factor in that through sites like this, we have rumors, snippets of interviews, tweets etc... of google saying GPM is Dead / going to be replaced with the "New" youtube music, which is NOT new and has been available for two years. And maybe you will understand why some, are fed up
  • You closed your third Google music / YouTube music, factless article with this.
    "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."
    Which tells All, that your are just a Google shill.
    Google doesn't read feedback. Never have, Never will. Especially wishlist nonsense.. The rest of your "article" is just opinion.
    You have no knowledge of what or when Google is going to do anything. None!
    What Google may or may not include, disable, remove, keep, add fix etc.
    Your have no factual knowledge.
    Your new predictions of a 2020 date for GPM's demise, proves this. And actually contradicts what a Real Google employee said. Which was "into 2019" judging by your previous two articles, casting is your main concern, Great. That's not a concern for most GPM users. You want people to chill out and give Google a break. Why?
    Releasing half baked, incomplete apps and services, is what Google does. All the Time
    They deserve no break.
    They should release a fully functional app on day one, especially when it's THEM talking about getting rid of the app it's going to replace.
    Rumors, net chat, promises, hints etc. Of upcoming features
    Or adding functionality that already exists in GPM, that may or may not ever be added. Is meaningless. Especially given Google's track record. Why should paying customers have to suffer through another ½ decade of beta level apps and services?
    Why not simply fix GPM few remaining issues. Then rename it, if they must.. For those who want to WATCH music videos in their Audio Music app, or have some half baked A.I. tell them what to listen to, make playlists or guess what they think you want to listen to.
    All those abilities already exists in the bloated laggy GPM! As well as YouTube and the long ignored YouTube music app. Google's play music is laggy precisely because of these features. Why not simplify GPM and make it work flawlessly. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel all the time? As to your claim that it takes time etc to integrate GOM features into this "new" YouTube music. Not at all.
    It's a few keystrokes. That's it.
    By simply renaming GPM.
    AKA don't Fix what isn't broken!
  • "Releasing half baked, incomplete apps and services, is what Google does." Only looking at YTM and not any other app, how can you complain about this app being half baked when it is clearly labelled early access and not done. I don't recall to many beta apps not having issues.
  • The problem you and many others are having is that You are pretending Youtube music hasn't been out for two years. it has
    It was useless then and as of today. this "New & improved" version or the last version of the original are still useless.
    Debate that
    Show me whats improved. Not what you think may be added, fixed, removed, changed etc. just whats in either version now as they compare to GPM
  • So much anger...
  • I gave feedback to Google years ago when they changed Play Music's album art to this zoomed in garbage. I have only ever seen people complain about it yet dozens of updates and years later they still haven't changed it.
  • Sort by artist after ignoring my feedback I found that Google ignores feedback. I now report the Google bots saying leave feedback as spam on the Google Forums.
  • So, I see Half of the comments are nearly identical. Whats that tell you Ara?
    Will you learn from this?
    Will Android Central?
    Kudos to all who saw right through this article and commented CORRECTLY about it.
    IF more would do this here and at google, maybe... One day, thing might change.
    Bending over for goole seems to be the status quo, google knows this and exploits it.
    Their M.O. seems to be " you get what you pay for" and sinceNearly Everything at Google / Android is free, that is how they operate and will continue to .
    But Google Play Music and this Not "New" youtube music is NOT free. It is a paid service and we the Customers deserve it to work and deserve proper customer / technical support when it doesn't. Not " Send Feedback. Not Visit the Google Help forums , which google doesn't Control, read or interact with at all. And Not call the outsourced, Overseas call center to talk to clueless , untrained people with their made up Anglican Names whose default answer to every question is..... Send Feedback or visit the Google Help forums! Followed by, Did you do a factory reset!
  • Tbh I had never of YTM until I saw the articles and downloaded it.
  • You're an angry elf.
  • Agreed on the utter worthlessness of Google's Help Forums. They are a joke. Why Google points already frustrated users to them is the real mystery. Because there is no help there. On those exceedingly rare occasions someone from Google apparently shows up, it's usually with a bland, general comment not pertinent to the problems that users say they are having. It's surreal -- since it invariably just aggravates the anger and frustration of the assembled users seeking -- but never receiving -- help.
  • Click on 3 dots send useless feedback. I agree.
  • Googleshill. Agree 100%. I could not have said it better.
  • This might be completely coincidental but I saw someone else say they did it so I tried it and it worked... It looks like Google isn't trying to push the new YouTube music update to gpm subscribers so if you have another Gmail account register it then use it to log in YouTube music instead of your subscription account then you should get the update. Worked for me at least
  • I left a long, passionate comment about my love of Google Play Music and my attempts to use YouTube Music. It saved and displayed -- but when I went to edit it using the edit button and then tried to save it, I was accused of SPAMMING. All I wanted to do was edit my comment. But it was then DELETED and I was shut out. Thanks a plug lot, losers.
  • Did Google roll this out without changing the name of it? I just use the music app and went through it real hard for the first time and mine seems to have everything that I seen them discuss in a YouTube review.
  • Glad that I will be grandfathered, since I don't use the music side much. This is still an extra reason to migrate my music collection to Amazon though. I barely even touch Spotify...
  • I love Google Play Music's *desktop* browser app. Its flexibility, its search functions, the queue and playlist management tools like multi-select, the play-next function (once they fixed it so it would actually play-next even if the player wasn't running, anyhow, something I contacted them about multiple times, since its original behavior was so obtuse), it really works for me. And, since I've been on 7 subscription stream services since 2005, it's something I have some opinions about. Now, for sure, the mobile version (at least on Android) is a pain, slow, bloated, and limited in function and flexibility. But no Android stream service has been very good. It's just not a robust enough platform, apparently. That's the only conclusion I can come to, since player after player has been a disappointment. But the desktop version, that's probably the best Google app I've used, period. It's certainly one of the most mature. It's not perfect, it could use a number of valuable features: a volume indexing system a la Replay Gain, multiple shuffle options (they don't seem to understand the concept), a dedicated Android remote for desktop play control (there's a third party 'RC' but G apparently makes it hard to keep updated), sleep timer, alarm clock function, and -- the big one -- LOSSLESS playback -- all of these are needed and could have been added to the existing app. Will they be in the finished YouTube Music? Doesn't look like it. But who knows? This is the WORST product roll-out I've seen since Beats ate the beloved MOG streamer and then choked to death on it, being 'reborn' as the apparently totally remade yet still widely regarded as frustrating Apple Music.
  • I just started a GPM subscription, and have no issues with it at all. Instead of tweaking GPM - if it really needs it - why the hell start another stupid service? I mean, what's next? Integrating music services into GMail in five or ten years?
  • So far after trying you tube music for 10 minutes I'm sticking to Play Music youtube music still feels like just playing playlists on youtube.
  • I don't subscribe to Google Play Music, I just use its app for Android to play songs from my phone's SD Card and play ad-supported playlists. If the GPM app is still usable this way a year or two from now, great. Otherwise I'll just switch to basic music player app that came preinstalled with my phone.