A reference to something called "music gifts" has appeared on the Google Play support page for Play gift cards today, and we frankly have no information at this point suggesting what they could be. The support entry, below, doesn't really provide any information, so we're left to speculate.
Could this be an upcoming way to gift albums or songs to people on Play Music? Or perhaps a way to gift Play Music All Access subscriptions themselves (that seems more likely to me)?
Today is about more than new Nexus devices. Google has also announced a new plan option for Google Play All Access. Rather than paying for multiple individual accounts, family members can now share a single family subscription for $15 per month. We posted this rumor yesterday, and it's now confirmed.
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?
Well, yes and no. If you don't subscribe to Google Play Music All Access (or Unlimited as it's being referred to recently), you may not notice any significant difference in the app.
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. If you have it on mobile, then it's also available on the web, so there's that, too.
At this time, it looks like the rollout is limited to Play Music All Access subscribers, especially considering it just seems to show up for users without any additional signup.
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.
In Brazil, ad-free, unlimited streaming of Google's All Access library will run you 12.90 real a month (approximately five US dollars a month - not bad!) if you sign up before January 7th.
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.
It turns out the Google is handling this in the best way possible, and making it a seamless transition for current AA members.
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. That price also gets you a subscription to Google Play Music All Access, just like we suspected it would.
The question, however, is whether or not current All Access subscribers will automatically get Music Key as well.
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. We're seeing reports that it's only available to people who own certain Galaxy devices (the Galaxy S4, S5, and the Tab S) as the result of a partnership with Samsung.