16
May
googlemusictiny

The problem with any account-based music streaming service, from a corporate standpoint, is that end users are a shared password away from getting access to free media. Really, who hasn't shared their Netflix account once or twice? In an effort to prevent this kind of abuse, Google Music (likely at the request of the music labels) has instituted a cap on the number of devices you are allowed to deauthorize: Four. Per year. It gets worse, though.

sorrrrrydeauth

For the uninitiated, here's how it works: you are allowed a maximum of ten devices that can be associated with a single Google Music account. This includes phones, tablets, and even desktops and laptops. However, if you get rid of a device, or simply no longer want to use it anymore, you can deauthorize a device. The device will no longer be allowed to stream music from your  account, and you'll get one of your ten spots back. This process, according to the new rules, will only work four times in a given year, however.

For most regular users, this won't be a problem. However, it will have a huge effect on Android's most loyal customers: ROM flashers. According to several XDA members, flashing new ROMs counts as registering new devices. Heavy flashers can easily find themselves hitting this limit inside of a couple months. Especially if every ROM they test for a day or two gets counted.

The ten device limit is substantial, if not terribly generous. Ten devices may seem like a lot, but when you imagine a user with a home desktop and laptop, an Android phone and tablet, and maybe a work computer or two, you've already gone over half the limit of authorized devices without a single ROM flash. Or, we'll point out, replacing a device. We can only imagine that the holiday season would be hell for a family that gets a couple new devices and shares an account with any member of their family. Which, sure, you're not supposed to do, but I doubt that a married couple sharing a music account is going to destroy the music industry.

Once again, a seemingly-reasonable policy ends up affecting only the most devoted fans of the platform. Hopefully Google/the developer community can find a way to fix/circumvent this artificial limitation.

Source: XDA

Thanks, James and Aman!

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • BrazenRain

    Hey look, there's a "Report a Problem" button in that screenshot!

    I sent feedback asking for them to not apply the limit to Android devices. It makes sense to stop Google Music from being a mass pirated-music downloader, but that doesn't apply to Android phones now, does it? (Let's not tell them about Cloud Music sniper.)

    • John O’Connor

      As a heavy custom rom user/switcher with over 6 android devices, this could be troublesome. also one demographic not listed here is those serial phone droppers who need their devices replaced (you know who you are)

    • Hilmy

      I also think they should realy change that. There bigest fans are kept out. I think the reporting a problem option is good. We should all do that. At least those in the US. Im from Switzerland, so anyway not suposed to use google music ;-)

      I think the could fix that problem realy easy. Why not just use the EMAI Number from the Device? I guess eaven most of the Custom Rom user dont realy get more then 4 Devices a year. If every device is realy counted as one device, most of us wouldent have a problem. And the EMAI would be a easy way to check that.

      I like the googel music cloud funktion. But if i have to choose between that and custom roms, im gona have to take the custom roms.

    • Hilmy

      I also think they should realy change that. There bigest fans are kept out. I think the reporting a problem option is good. We should all do that. At least those in the US. Im from Switzerland, so anyway not suposed to use google music ;-)

      I think the could fix that problem realy easy. Why not just use the EMAI Number from the Device? I guess eaven most of the Custom Rom user dont realy get more then 4 Devices a year. If every device is realy counted as one device, most of us wouldent have a problem. And the EMAI would be a easy way to check that.

      I like the googel music cloud funktion. But if i have to choose between that and custom roms, im gona have to take the custom roms.

  • jdomann

    Contact them. Let them know how you feel about this change:
    http://support.google.com/googleplay/bin/static.py?hl=en&page=ts.cs&ts=2481849

  • http://cyanogenmod.com/ ciwrl

    "...
    home desktop and laptop, an Android phone and tablet, and maybe a work computer or two..."

    The only pc I see listed is the one actually doing the uploading. How many people are uploading from their work machines?

    /writing this from my work machine while streaming gmusic - and no, it does not appear as an authorized device. 

    • Daveloft

      I upload from 2 computers and I also use multiple VPN's and network adapters. Because of that each of my computers are listed multiple times.

    • Daveloft

      I upload from 2 computers and I also use multiple VPN's and network adapters. Because of that each of my computers are listed multiple times.

      • http://cyanogenmod.com/ ciwrl

        I don't think multiple network adapters matters from the same machine: as it stands, by upload machine is hooked up via wifi and lan, still only reports once.

        You upload normally and via vpn from your home machine? That seems odd. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/GeekYoshi Kraig Yoshi Webb

    The biggest problem with this is that if you have too many devices registered it doesn't allow you to play music at all

  • DavidKSims

    This is BS in a million ways! one, I flash about twice a month and even If I did not, 2 upgrades a year minimum. I have 3 personal computers and a work computer, tablet, cell phone. What they should do is limit the number of times you can be logged on at one time, not the devices.

  • Peter

    Even factory data resets count as new devices. My tablet is totally stock and it is listed 6 times.

  • marcusmaximus04

    Solution: Determine device by MAC address.

    • Tyler Chappell

      I second this, there's no reason MAC addresses shouldnt be used for all sorts of ways of verifying an authorized device.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/7GU4N7CVDBJXMZOBFO3DMIQZH4 J

      Yeah....  I was thinking about that as well....  If base it off the phone's IMIE number, then regardless of how many times you flash a new rom, factory reset, etc it should still count as just 1 authorized device.  And it shouldn't be that hard to make the changes in the Music app to enable it.

      • marcusmaximus04

        True, though I still hold that MAC address would be better. IMEI would work great, except that there are devices that don't have them(wifi android tablets, computers, etc) and still use Music.

        Every NIC has to have its own unique MAC address, so that method would literally work with every device in existence. Of course, that raises problems with devices with more than one NIC(say, a smartphone that will sometimes connect over wifi and sometimes over cellular data), but then you could always just choose one and scan the hardware on the device for any NIC with a matching MAC address.

        • Anthony Moulen

          Actually this isn't true, virtual machines often share the same MAC address as other virtual machines out there.  The only requirement on MAC address is that it isn't repeated on the same subnet.  An IPV6 address would work since every device is to have a truly unique ID but MAC address doesn't work.  

          • marcusmaximus04

            Right, but virtual machines are, well, virtual. They virtualize the NIC along with everything else. The true MAC address would still be that of the NIC on the host system, which would still be, necessarily, unique. 

            Also, SURELY google/music companies can't be worried about everyone suddenly streaming all their music through virtualized systems that are all set up to share the same MAC address...

            Anyway I'm nowhere near an expert in networks, but wouldn't an IPV6 address be dependent on the network the device is connected to, rather than the device itself?

  • JonJJon

    This will be problematic for a lot of people but not for most unfortunately. And it will affect even less proportionally if this service ever officially goes global like to the UK (still waiting Google) and beyond. I have dealt with these sorts of restrictions for a while now in various services, and they won't stop doing it as it is one of their methods (Amazon Kindle, Lovefilm can only have I think 3 devices including consoles and TVs with deactivation limits on a 6 monthly basis) they use to get more money from more people rather than sharing tactics -_- I don't blame Google as I'm sure most of you won't as they are probably doing this to keep the Labels happy and to prevent them ditching the service. It is as though they are taking a turd on their most loyal and devoted end users (xda and beyond etc) but I don't expect it to change back any time soon, perhaps they'll introduce small monthly/yearly charges to "buy" more "activations/deactivations"

  • LfnsR
  • KamikaZee

    Not Rom flashes in general cause a "new device" but only those where you do a full wipe. For that matter, any time you clear all your account data and the music app has to re-authorize it will register  as a new device.

    So not all Rom flashers are affected, I have flashed my phone 6 or 7 times but only 1 was a full wipe, so I have my original rom register and the custom one.

    Still if they just link "new device"=new hardware ID then all would be fine and dandy. 4 devices per year is enough.

    If you could revoke without punishment then all you'd have to do to share all your music would be share your pw once and hit the dl all button, then de-register the account and rinse and repeat.

  • Chris Hutchinson83

    Lucky i deauthorized about 7 devices a few days ago.

  • LazarusDark

    It looks like many are finding that an "authorized" device is one that uploads or has offline files. And streaming only devices may not count. If indeed this is the case, serial flashers/romers/upgraders may need to make sure they do not enable offline on all devices, maybe only the home PC.

  • Freak4Dell

    Wow, that's terrible. I flash ROMs several times a year, so I always end up with duplicates that have to be deactivated before the new ROM will be allowed to play music.

    • itched

      Several times a year? Try several times a day. #crackflasher

  • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

    Your desktop is not count as one of the 10 devices.

    • Kellic

      Actually your desktop IS counted.  Wherever the source of the music is coming from requires the desktop client to be installed for uploading.  That requires activation. 

  • http://twitter.com/ogdobber mark dobson

    non-issue. contacted google support http://support.google.com/googleplay/bin/request.py?hl=en&policy=music&contact_type=contact_policy and they reset my authorizations 

    • Kellic

      OK so this is like Microsoft's product activation.  Where after like two activations you just need to contact them.  Good to know.

  • IronBlood

    I've been shamed at a party before because of there stupid 10 device limit. I went a deauthorized all but the most recent phone. This 4 device deauth limit is going to kill this for me as i am an avid flasher. Google needs to develop a smarter way to handle this, and i know they can.

    Maybe an IMEI lock or SIM lock rather then every flash or factory reset counting as a new device. Google could register your phone and its IMEI on the play store and regardless of what is done to the phone software it will still be looked at as though its one device.

    Hopefully they can fix this  

  • Michael

    From the later XDA threads, it looks like they may have fixed this.  I was able to remove 6 cloned devices just now.

  • Kellic

    When does this take effect!??  NOW?  Dear Google.  Fuck you.  Seriously.  I just looked.  I have about a 8 devices from previous ROMS.

  • Kellic

    When does this take effect!??  NOW?  Dear Google.  Fuck you.  Seriously.  I just looked.  I have about a 8 devices from previous ROMS.

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    You can now deauthorize more than 4 devices again.

    • Kellic

      Hmmm, for how long?  The fact that, that feature is enabled means they plan to roll it out at some point.

  • Zonk7ate9

    This policy is entirely reasonable, but they need to change how they identify devices, if they want to enforce it. The IMEI and Serial Number of every device is readily available in the Android settings. Problem solved, I would think Google engineers are smarter than this.

  • http://twitter.com/crackedskeptic Benjamen Johnson

    It looks like Google is only counting desktops and Android devices. I'm using gMusic on two iDevices and they aren't listed. So they are punishing people for using Android and not IOS? 

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