YouTube Music may be the latest attempt by Google to infiltrate the music streaming market, but not everyone is happy with the plan to replace Play Music. YTM was spotted testing the ability to play personal playlists via Assistant voice commands earlier this summer, and now it looks like the feature is rolling out more widely — and users can now cast uploaded songs without paying a premium price.

Personal playlists in YouTube Music can now be started with a quick request to Google Assistant. Saying “Hey Google, play my 'musicals at work' playlist" actually does it now, instead of just replying that the feature is not supported or starting a completely different, seemingly random playlist. I can confirm that it's working on my Pixel 4 in the US, and it should work in other areas like the UK, Canada, and Brazil as well.

Along with personal playlists on Assistant, it looks like uploaded content can be cast to smart speakers, displays, and more — even if you don't pay for a premium membership. It's encouraging to see that Google is no longer holding your own music hostage in this way.

In an AMA session in 2018, a YouTube Music product manager promised that personal playlists on the Google Assistant would be coming "later this year." Obviously, that didn't happen. With Assistant being such a big focus area for the company it's astonishing that it has taken this long to implement. The service recently added tabs to the homescreen and is still experimenting with new daily mixes as the clock ticks down the time until Google Play Music's departure date. These improvements to casting and the Assistant experience are great to see — but will they be enough to win over GPM converts?

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  • José