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Last Updated: September 10th, 2013

A Google Play Music update v5.2 just popped up in the Play Store, though it's being slowly rolled out, as is the case with many big Google apps nowadays. The previous version is 5.1, and indeed I'm seeing quite a few changes inside that would warrant a point release.

Update 9/10/13 4:00pm PT: the official changelog has been posted:

What's New

v5.2.1204L

* All Access Genre Radio is here! Go to Radio or Explore, pick your favorite genre and enjoy unlimited radio based on the music you love.

* New download queue that allows pausing, resuming and cancelling

Genre Radio

A detailed teardown may be coming in the future, but in the meantime, there is one big change that was immediately apparent: Google Play Music now supports Genre Radio in addition to the regular artist/song radio. You need All Access for this. Genre Radio appears as a new tab under Radio and looks like this:

wm_Screenshot_2013-09-09-15-11-00 wm_Screenshot_2013-09-09-15-11-08

Left: Play Music 5.1; Right: Play Music 5.2

The genre radio actually shows you sub-genres first, so you can start either the topmost genre or the sub-genre of your choosing:

wm_Screenshot_2013-09-09-15-45-45 wm_Screenshot_2013-09-09-15-45-22 wm_Screenshot_2013-09-09-15-45-11

Send Feedback

In addition to the genre radio, I've spotted a new Send feedback button:

wm_Screenshot_2013-09-09-15-05-43 wm_Screenshot_2013-09-09-15-06-27

These are all the major changes I'm ready to report right now, pending Google's own changelog and our full teardown. There is a lot of activity regarding downloading/pinning/removing music, but I'll have to dig into those deeper before figuring out what's new.

Download Queue UI

Update: Yup, there is now a proper Download Queue UI for downloading/pinning music which finally supports a Pause/Resume button:

wm_Screenshot_2013-09-09-15-34-47 wm_Screenshot_2013-09-09-15-34-48

Left: Play Music 5.1; Right: Play Music 5.2

wm_Screenshot_2013-09-09-15-35-49 wm_Screenshot_2013-09-09-15-36-47

Left: Play Music 5.1; Right: Play Music 5.2

APK Download

Thanks, +Tommy Nunno and Keyan X!

P.S. The Download to SD card hack that was removed in the last update is still gone.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Peter Farac

    SD card activity back again?

    • george m

      yup thats my question. i havent updated to the last version for that exact reason

      • jammer

        Same here. And I made a backup in case I accidentally hit the update button.

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      One feature that would be welcomed to make a come back!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      The Download to SD card hack that was removed in the last update is still gone.

      • NemaCystX

        I can see why they removed it, they want to keep their content partners happy otherwise they will lose content, so they have to put up a walled garden, so to speak

        • mgamerz

          Isn't the radio/music you don't own (I guess rent?) encrypted?

      • Bryan Pizzuti

        Which is why I stick with MediaMonkey

      • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

        Thanks for confirming that external SD support hasn't returned. Guess I'll be sticking with 5.1.1107K for a long time to come, as I've got 29GB pinned to my 64GB external SD @ /storage/sdcard1/Android/data/com.google.android.music.

        Going on vacation in a few weeks, and the cloud isn't really an option.

        • Tydilicious

          Do you have a link for that hack ? I've updated and like to keep the current version

        • Josh Legoza

          Without knowing the details of your use case, wouldn't it be simpler to actually put the mp3 song files onto your SD card? (not the pinned mp3 files who's names are obfuscated and only Google Music can find and understand, but the actual files that you have on your desktop already) Google Music will still play music off of the SD, it just won't pin cloud music to it. (Probably because of the asshats at the RIAA) Obviously you can't just easily pin and unpin music directly from the app that way, but if you're just looking to have a ton of music on your SD card, isn't that simpler than the old root hack?

          Hope that makes sense.

          • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

            I understand what you're saying about local play, but now that my entire collection of 320kbit (and some flac) has been uploaded to the cloud it's just easier for me to use the Google Play Music app to play everything from my various fav pinned playlists, thumbs up playlists, etc. And stuff from AllAccess is mixed in as well. I also use Chromecast quite a bit, which requires the music to be played from the cloud.

          • Josh Legoza

            I didn't even think about the fact that you could pin All Access. That's a huge point! Why did google have to go and make cloud music all awesome?

  • Brad

    I've gotten it, apparently. Should I pull the APK for you?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Wat? There's a download at the end.

      • Brad

        Ah, skimming while working buggered me up. Sorry!

  • Sir_Brizz

    I knew this was coming. I saw Genre Radio on the web version of Play Music today.

    • NemaCystX

      here you go have a cookie

    • alexcue

      Genre Radio's been around for awhile on the web.

  • Wazzifer

    God I fucking love Google Music!

  • Garry Duane Bartle

    Anything new in regards to Chromecast management?

  • Thomas’

    Does this play your music of this genre or a last.fm like radio?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It plays using All Access, so like Last.FM in your analogy.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Update: Yup, there is now a proper Download Queue UI for downloading/pinning music which finally supports a Pause/Resume button.

    • george m

      can you save to memory card?

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        It's just the same Activity as before, except with an updated look and a pause button. I don't see any settings related to the save location.

      • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

        For "piracy protection" your never ever ever will see Google or anyone else allowing downloaded content that within monthly subscription such as All Access to be stored on a Micro SD card :(. Any saving will be on the condition of basis of strictly purchased only.

        Loading from an Micro SD card - well if they was to listen to customer feedback they be right mind to add in "Import/play from SD" feature however!

        • george m

          so they just ACCIDENTALLY programmed it into the app two versions ago? lol

          • NemaCystX

            they could have had it in there and their content partners didn't like that it had that so they were forced to remove it. When it comes to RIAA and MPAA crap, you have to listen to their every whim or they will drop you like that

          • Guest

            couldnt they just made the downloads just encoded so it could only play within your account?

          • george m

            they couldnt encode the downloads so it only plays within your own acccount?

          • NemaCystX

            DRM isn't fun, I'll leave it at that

        • Peter Farac

          There is no difference where it is saved, the same content protection is applied. Your information is entirely incorrect.

          • Brookllyn

            Actually, there is no drm on the all access music that gets downloaded to sd

          • Roh_Mish

            They can have one

        • Roh_Mish

          But you should be able to get your own songs that you uploaded on SDCard. and they can still use DRM or protected emulated storage in 4.1/2(dont remember) as the ROM manager and other apps use to protect it. a little work and adb access too is blocked.

    • TOMMMMMM

      have they fixed the terrible way in which music gets pre-cached? What I mean is if you stream music, it will automatically download the next two songs in your queue, so if your constantly skipping around tracks without listening to them, your going to blow through a data cap.

      • pfmiller

        Have you tried turning off "Cache during playback"?

        • TOMMMMMM

          it still does this with music cash turned off.

          • Roh_Mish

            If you do it, replay of music again will blow your cap. how much is it? I have 15GB and works fine.

    • Layman76

      There's also a new animation for the menu. It slides up from the bottom right. Try it on a song

      • Roh_Mish

        Which menu?

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    The Genres Radio actually shows you sub-genres first, so you can start either the topmost genre or the sub-genre of your choosing.

  • Dwayne Wilkinson

    Congratulations are in order for our US cousins. The rest of the world (Australia at least) can only look on in envy and wonder what this radio is that you speak of :'(

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      Radio is an All Access Feature

      Australia along with US, UK and a few other countries (mostly european) have Music and Music AA.

      If your country has Play Music it have Play Music All Access (unless currently if your German)

      https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/2843119?hl=en-GB

      • Dwayne Wilkinson

        Yes, see my edit above :)

        I just started my free All Access trial, and see that I now have radio. $11.99 a month is a little steep though. Not sure what it is in the US.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          $9.99, was $7.99 for those who locked it in.

          • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

            Extension to Artem's words: Europe it is £7.99 and €7.99 until 15th September on promotion before it increases to £/€ 9.99

            Coming from a Brit (opinion) - Best prices are US$ and the €uro!

          • remister

            If I have it at $7.99 and then cancel. Will I be able to obtain it for $7.99 again? I am only asking, since I have both Spotify and All Access right now.

          • esdev

            Nope. Once you lock it in, you have to keep your subscription going. I let mine lapse a month and when I went to re-subscribe, it's just showing the $9.99/mo price :(

          • XXyyZ

            You will not, sorry. Happened to me.

      • Roh_Mish

        We still dont have magazines and Music here in India. There was a different (local) version of Google Music (not the current one, was not related but was by google), there musics arrived late, and now it is closed.

  • Danny Theriault

    Whoa, this is the first time I've had good luck on a staggered rollout. Didn't notice the genre radio until reading this, though.

  • http://instagram.com/torontorebel Toronto Rebel

    I haven't received the update yet, but i still never got any sort of Radio.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    P.S. ATB <3.

  • spydie

    I assume you have to be on the monthly plan to see the Genre radio?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Correct. All Access.

      • spydie

        damn, well looks like I stick with Pandora, TuneIn Radio Pro, and IHeart Radio. Can't see paying by the month something as limited as this. If I wanted another monthly bill, I'd get Sirius radio.

        • Wazzifer

          You are special aren't you?

        • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

          Pandora has some envious Europeans as it better free tier allowance compared to Spotify!

        • tearsofapathy

          Are you aware that All Access is far more than just radio? It even streams new releases within a day or two of release date. It's well worth the few bucks a month.

          • spydie

            Only if you want the latest songs... I don't. If I'm going to have a monthly bill, I get a lot more choices on Sirius, not just songs.

    • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

      Radio is an All Access feature paid monthly.

      Hopefully Google will review All Access Tiers once the almost certain iTunes Radio comes out with its presumed "free tier with advertising"

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Does anyone constantly have this problem with starting radio? I've had this issue on my Note II for ages - Play Music just refuses to start radio stations half the time.

    http://i.imgur.com/Go5WXe8.png

    The Nexus 4 trying to do the same thing succeeds, but the Note II fails no matter how many times I try.

    In my example above, I'm trying to start the radio for a song called The Mantis by Alive - Ep.

    • remister

      I was able to do radio on my HTC One, but get that same message on my Nexus 7 2013.
      EDIT: It was able to play after I did a restart on my Nexus 7 2013.

    • Wazzifer

      For some reason I can't start an industrial station on my nexus 4, note 10.1 or PC.

    • Tydilicious

      I've this message on some radio, but genre. Most work for me but still anoying.
      I also have to wait to get sub-genre after clickng on galaxy s3

      • Roh_Mish

        Play music has crashed many times on my Note2 and its buggy and skips playback on it. Works flawlessly without even a single FC till now on Nexus4

  • NemaCystX

    Been waiting for this, Genre radio should've been there to begin with when they announced "All Access"

  • ChavaM

    Ugh, I'm still waiting on the iOS app.

  • vwbeetlvr

    I hate that the first song that plays for me each morning on my way out the door seems to be in Normal quality. I always need to skip it to get a high quality song.

  • remister

    This currently beats Spotify radio. On spotify, I usually get the same radio playlist most of the time. It would be nice if there was decades radio added on All Access.

    • George B

      It's not quite what you're asking for, but most genre listings list subgenres like "80s pop", "90s pop", "00s pop", etc.

  • Barry

    This update finally adds the YEAR of an album's release (next to the number of tracks). In a nice touch it even includes the year of release of all albums you have uploaded to Google Music from your own collection, as long as you have previously populated that field.

  • Tills13

    Have they fixed shuffle, yet?

    • miri

      It's been fixed for months unless there's something else broken about it that I'm not aware of.

      • Tills13

        Pressing shuffle while already playing music will only shuffle the songs after it in the queue.

  • Michael

    What is the little bandwidth/speed monitor widget/overlay?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Network Monitor Mini.

  • Me

    Did the "com.google.music.medialist.Shared*SongList" classes exist before or they're new to this one?

    • Roh_Mish

      I dont think so. You have older version?

  • Gordon Lutz

    Well that totally sucks!! Nothing new for me with this version.
    Not available for Canada. That doesn't even make sense.

  • FrancoMacagno

    On the web player you can finally filter your library songs that were added from All Acces or purchased/uploaded.

    This is getting better and better!

  • miri

    Did anyone else see a splash screen on first launch?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, I did - all orange with a white icon.

  • Spork

    Play Music is the worst of all Google services. That buggy roach-motel is what make Amazon's music so superior, just by sucking-less!

  • Mayoo

    Can some

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    When I had first heard that both Google and Apple are planning to launch streaming music service, I had thought Apple will charge a premium and Google will roll with ad supported free subscription. I was baffled to see exact opposite happen.

    • Televise

      Different services entirely, I'm baffled as to how you would think google could provide the service they do for free.

  • Coffinpsalms

    Now if they would let me set Library as the default screen when I open the app, I'd be happy.

  • Jsilvermist

    Still not in Canada, worthless!

    • Tony Sarju

      I'm in Canada and I can use it. Just set it up using a US proxy or via a friend's PC in the USA while connected to a US ISP.

      • http://www.microwav3d.com/ Mihir Garikiparithi

        but you need a credit card.
        Sucks.

  • quick

    Have to stay on an old version... After they took out "Stream High Quality Only" they audio quality goes to shit when off of WIFI.

    But good for those folks who can't tell the difference I guess :/

  • tab

    There is a new package called xdi which seems to offer a database access (browsing, starting playback) for external apps or possibly other google apps.

  • Luca Comellini

    Do you know how to customize the explore section? There is always italian music (I'm in Italy) but I don't want this s**t...

  • jurrabi

    I've used Google Music for a month now and, as I knew from the start, I'm gonna keep paying it. It's worth each buck.

    But where I would love to see some improvement is in player interface. Music has a lot of interesting metadata that google music app doesn't explode at all.

    If fact, if you look at the player interface most of the space is just wasted with a big scrolling photo of the album playing, that many times is not even that useful because it's not the original album art some collection.

    But apart from that you get just 2 lines of info on the top with another small photo album, the name of the song and the author. and this lines share room (in portrait it shows most) with 2 or three buttons for output, playlist and menu.

    I would love to see google music to explode all metadata music has and combine it with google search's own intelligence to relate objects. This way they might add to the mix, artist photos, concert or music video stills.., enrich the experience in general.

    and then again be able to figure out facts about music like year, composer, writer, sales, etc...

    It doesn't have to be the way to go, but what xbox music did in the XBOX 360, with the title, time and artist flying around over a slideshow of related pictures was really eye candy...

  • Robert Castles

    I have this genre radio in 5.1, under "explore" The content is terrible, especially compared to Pandora or Slacker, and the recommendation engine is worse.

    Google has a ways to go here to be great.

  • Morten Ulveseth

    Did a month of All Access, but had to return to Spotify due to lacking android app and local windows app. Maybe I'll try to make the jump again in a year.

    My fav feature is that you can store 20000 songs in the cloud. I guess I'll just use google music for that, for now.

  • shadowx360

    Anyone else have an issue with the shuffle button not actually sticking through restarts? It's been an issue for me for the past year, the shuffle button is clicked but it's not playing shuffled until I unclick and then click it.

    • Roh_Mish

      Mine is Like/Unlike now working

  • DerpMaster

    There is now an "I'm feeling lucky" button in the web version of google music all access under radio, along with the genre radio stations mentioned here.

  • samwist23

    How do you show the download/upload activity on the top right?

  • s427

    I got this update yesterday, and since then all my cover images have disappeared from the app. Am I the only one having this issue? I can't find anybody talking about it...

    The images are still on the web app, though. I tried emptying the stored data of the app on my phone (so it had to re-sync and re-download everything), but nope, still no cover images.

    Not a huge deal, but annoying...

    Actually, I just noticed it's not just the cover images. Even the images that were automatically chosen by Google (e.g. on the Artist page) don't display any more. So basically all I see anywhere in the app are generic default grey images.

    • Jim

      Nope. Have same problem on Nexus 7 (2013) and HTC One X. All artwork gone. Fixed it on Nexus by uninstalling the app update and re-applying, several times, and clearing the cache and data.

      • terroreek

        I tried many times doing this, on my nexus 4 and 7 with no luck. The other thing I have noticed is, the 'cloud' settings disappear as well from the application settings.

    • Arlefreak

      Same problem here

    • HJ

      You're definitely not the only one. It happened to me as well, on my Nexus 4.
      But, the weird thing is, the update worked just fine on my Nexus 7 (2012). Both devices are on Android 4.3.

      I have already uninstalled the Play Music updates and reinstalled the last update to Play Music on my Nexus 4. Made no difference. At least the music still plays.

      My brother had the same issue on his HTC One. All images had disappeared for him as well.

    • Gerald

      Same issue here, nothing seems to fix it to date

    • tru

      IT WONT WORK FOR ME!!!!!

    • eperales

      Same thing here. Installing and reinstalling didn't work.

    • Terroreek

      OK I was able to resolve this problem on both my Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, really dumb fix. However once you're hit the menu button on play music, (the three vertical dots in the upper right hand corner) then choose settings, you'll notice that that all the cloud settings are gone. Click account and choose your account, and it should start downloading the artwork again.

      I found that when I hit refresh, I have to click settings and select my account. Hope that helps everyone.

      • s427

        Whoa, I can confirm this worked for me.
        It's strange, because I'm pretty sure I already tried that the first day I noticed the problem, and it didn't change anything. Maybe it's something Google changed on their end in the meantime?
        Oh well, problem solved anyway (for now). ^^

      • JeffreyK

        This worked for me as well, thanks Terroreek.

      • Andy Dodsworth

        Worked for me too, cheers!

  • Andreas Ebbert-Karroum

    After Play Music updated, nearly all album arts are lots. They've been there previously, and now neither Nexus 7, nor Galaxy Nexus shows them. All album arts are still present in the web. Anybody else, who has that problem?

  • Musthafa Mangalore

    Why my playlists getting emptied automatically and why the queued songs are getting resetted to the default songs (in my case the default songs are those, which downloaded from whatsapp). I have posted my problem here: http://qstacks.com/3951/google-music-shuffled-songs-resetting-downloaded-songs-phone

    Could anyone try to find me a solution for this problem? My Google Play Music version is v5.2.1224L.847622.