Play Music's v5.8 rolled out last month with a slew of fixes and improvements to make the app fit better with Material Design's guidelines and provide some added functionality like biography and history for artists, and a previous song button in the collapsed notification. The app has since seen a few incremental changes, but the latest v5.8.1836R got a rare treatment from Google: an official changelog. So it must be something important, right?
Early this summer, T-Mobile announced a Music Freedom plan that would allow customers to stream music from select services without impacting their data allotment. Some people opposed this offering on principle. Others were simply upset to see their favorite services not supported. Around these parts, Google Play Music topped the list of what folks wanted to see.
We knew that YouTube Music Key would start rolling out this week, and it looks like it's in full force at this point. A bunch of us here at AP already have it, and from the look of our tip box, most of you do as well. If not, well, I'm sorry. Here's a quick look at what you're missing.
As expected, we've got offline playback (you can choose to save the videos in 360p or 720p), background playback, and ad-free music videos.
Brazilian readers have had access to Google's music store and cloud song storage for only a couple of months, but it looks like they now have access to the subscription music service as well. Brazil has been added to the list of countries with access to, uh, All Access, and at least one Google+ user has been given the promotional message on the Google Play Music Android app. Hop to it, music fans.
When Google announced YouTube Music Key, we had a few questions, most of which revolved around how this would affect Google Play Music All Access subscribers. Music Key's inclusion of All Access was part of the announcement, but it wasn't stated whether or not AA subscribers would automatically get access to Music Key, or if they'd have to sign up for the service all over again. Of course, that would be a really stupid way to handle things, so thankfully Google isn't doing that.
Guys, it's happening (....gif). The rumored YouTube music service that we've been hearing about for months is finally a reality. It's called YouTube Music Key, and it looks pretty great.
So here's the gist: it'll cost $7.99 a month (initially, at least - the price will eventually jump to $9.99), and includes full albums, background playback, offline viewing, and no ads. No ads. It's worth eight bucks a month just to get rid of the ads.
Continuing our journey through the new Google apps from Android 5.0 Lollipop, let's make a quick stop at Google Play Music. The update to this app has been anxiously awaited since it was demonstrated at Google I/O. And indeed, even Google's own product page for the Nexus 6 shows off some of the animations we've been salivating over for months.
The Google Play Music app found in a leaked dump of the Nexus 6 doesn't contain those animations, sadly, but it does continue the app's march toward compliance with Google's new design spec with bolder colors, new iconography, and a few touches that will set the stage for future awesomeness.
Google's Play services are gradually working their way out to more countries around the globe, and the latest expansion we've spotted is occurring south of the Equator. Google has enabled Play Music access in the countries of Brazil and Uruguay. This way users can back up their albums to Google's servers and access them from a web browser or mobile device.
All Access has technically come to both countries as well, but in the case of Brazil, there appear to be some substantial caveats.
Update #1 (8/12/14): It looks like Google deleted the tweet embedded below. Between that and the lack of an update to this support page, someone might have pulled the trigger early. But if those countries don't have access yet, they probably will sometime soon.
Google has big plans for both YouTube and Google Play Music. We've heard a lot about YouTube's potential subscription music playback service, background audio, and offlineplayback, and there's been much speculation about what such an arrangement would mean for Play Music All Access. What we've got today gives those rumors and clues some clarity.
Here's the basic rundown - YouTube is set to launch a service called YouTube Music Key, and Google is set to rebrand Google Play Music All Access to Google Play Music Key.