Google’s music service, which was born in 2011, was shut down in October but it shall live forever in our hearts. The service will now join Reader, Google+, and countless other products in the great Google graveyard in the sky.
Undergoing many changes in its name and design, Google Play Music spent 2014 expanding All Access to more countries, and it got a new icon and a tweaked app design with the arrival of Android 5.0 Lollipop and Material Design. In 2015, it got ad-supported radio and curated playlists thanks to an acquisition of Songza. In 2016, Google Play Music got another new logo: the final “Dorito chip.” It also got podcast support, making it a one-stop-shop for just about every kind of audio.
Then there were two years of nothing at all. As history shows, this is exactly how Google products always end. Google quietly loses interest and moves on. Shortly after, YouTube Music was announced in 2018, and the death sentence for Google Play Music -YouTube Music that will replace Google Play Music was also quickly announced.
However, we’ve known about the Google Play Music shut down for over a year now. But now, the music service is officially kaput!
Hints that GPM would be replaced by YouTube Music appeared back in 2019. Each Android device user knows that Google replaced GPM with YouTube Music as the ‘default’ music player on new Android devices. However, recently, Google has issued not-so-subtle warnings about the impending demise. GPM users received notifications on the website and app that they could transfer their music to YouTube Music.
Now when you access the GPM website, you see a giant splash banner, “Google Play Music is no longer available.”
Luckily, if you’d prefer not to switch to YouTube Music, you can download your full library. And as an ongoing tradition, like most Google product rollouts, the shut down of the service is happening in waves. Some GPM users may still be able to access the service until the wave hits their account.
Currently, users that have an updated Google Play Music app can revert to an older version of GPM. While turning off app updates and staying on that version might work for some time, once Google wipes the servers, the app will no longer work at all.
If you’ve already downloaded music for further offline listening, the bad thing is you can’t manage that data anywhere in the app. Nonetheless, it still takes up space on the device. You have to uninstall the app to free space, which can be annoying on older devices. Google’s first music streaming experiment lasted a full nine years before it died. Unfortunately, YouTube Music is a shoddy replacement that’s missing several features. The transfer between GPM and YTM seems to be less than intuitive, with some playlists not transferring at all
Sure, it is good that YouTube Music is adding features all the time, but we don’t know if the service will ever match the Google Music feature set or how long that will take. Play Music was killed far too early, leaving uploaders scrambling for a more viable alternative to YouTube Music.