What you need to know
- There's now a transfer tool to bring your Google Play Music library to YouTube Music.
- Google is no longer letting new customers sign up for Play Music Unlimited.
- Play Music will be completely shut down at some point in 2020.
Google's current offering for music streaming is a bit messy, and it's been that way for a while. Google re-launched YouTube Music back in August 2018 with the ultimate intent to have it replace Google Play Music, but ever since then, both services have continued to exist side-by-side.
YouTube Music has far fewer bugs and a lot more features since that initial launch, and now, Google's ready to start winding down Play Music — kind of.
Starting today, May 12, you'll find a new transfer tool in the YouTube Music app that allows you to move all of your songs, playlists, and more over from Google Play Music to YouTube Music. Simply go to the Library page in the app, tap Transfer, and the following will be ported over:
- Music recommendations
- Your playlists & many stations
- Liked & disliked songs
- Uploads & purchases
- Albums & songs in your library
All of this is transferred with just one tap, but Google notes that the process could take a few hours depending on how much content/history you have with Play Music. You'll get an email once the transfer is complete, along with an app notification from YouTube Music.
What's especially interesting about this whole process is that it accounts for your history with YouTube Music. If you've been using YouTube Music a lot recently and haven't touched Play Music in years, it'll still bring over your listening preferences while weighing them against what YouTube Music knows about you. Google doesn't want your outdated music tastes to overpower your current ones, so timestamps for all of your listening will be threaded into old songs to balance everything out.
Any music from your Play Music library will show up in your YouTube Music one as if it's always been there, and right on the YouTube Music home page, you'll see a collection of recommended songs and artists based on your Play Music library that was brought over.
There's one more piece to this puzzle we need to address, and that's podcasts. Since YouTube Music doesn't offer podcasts the way Play Music does, you'll find a similar transfer process that moves your listening history and subscriptions over to Google Podcasts. This is done through a simple web page, and it should only take a few seconds.
With tools now in place to bring Play Music users over to YouTube Music without any hiccups, Google's ready to finally start winding down the service. From this point forward, you can no longer subscribe to Play Music Unlimited if you aren't already a customer. Google also says it plans on fully shutting down Play Music at some point in 2020, but that's as specific of a time frame that we have.
There's previously been a lot of resistance from Play Music fans to switch to YouTube Music, and understandably so. YouTube Music had a pretty sloppy launch, but to Google's credit, it's done an admirable job of cleaning things up. Most recently, YouTube Music was revamped with a new playback UI, song lyrics, and an Explore page for more-easily discovering new music.
YouTube Music is still far from perfect, but Google's been making all of the right moves lately to ensure this transition as smooth as possible for folks.
What say you? Are you ready to finally jump ship?