Google killed Play Music in October 2020, a service many people loved for one feature in particular: its online music file locker with uploaded songs that seamlessly integrated with Play Music's streaming catalog. You could also just add titles you own and listen to them without ever having to pay a dime. Luckily, there are a few alternatives that replicate some of Play Music's capabilities, including its successor YouTube Music.
Google is an advertising business first and foremost, though over the last few years, the company has introduced many paid services: YouTube Premium, Google One, Fi, and Stadia Pro come to mind, among many others. There's never been a central hub where you could find Google's subscription offers, but that's now a thing of the past: You can see all of the company's paid services in one place on the Google Store.
Media and content companies really like previewing content as you scroll through their catalogs. Someone must've decided that this was more immersive and interactive at one point and now every app does it, from Netflix to YouTube, the Play Store, your Google Discover, and more. The feature is spreading to YouTube Music, but at least it only affects video thumbnails, not regular album art. And you can turn it off, obviously.
People who own Sonos speakers aren't having the best time dealing with the death of Google Play Music. YouTube Music, the app meant to replace it, has yet to adopt the seemingly basic ability to cast audio from mobile devices to robust thousand-dollar soundbars, much less achieve the promise of complete feature parity. As with many conflicts, there's no good reason for this chasm to exist and everyone to blame. But who should fix it?
One of the coolest things Spotify gives to long-time users is Wrapped, a deep dive of the music they listened to throughout the year. Now that Google is concentrating its efforts on improving YouTube Music, the company is offering its users a similar — though much more basic — feature, along with a selection of new playlists celebrating the most popular songs of 2020.
We've known for more than a year that Google Play Music's days were numbered. Its death had even been officially announced, but it's now really, really (really) real. Google sunset the GPM app on Android and the web at the end of October, providing the knock-out blow to what has been a rathershortmatch — and now it looks like the funeral procession has finally finished its march.
Music streaming services are cooking up some kitschy personalized ways to enjoy your favorite pop hits over and over again. Spotify has been infusing AI into some web experiences featuring artists like The Weeknd. Now, YouTube Music is experimenting with doing a bit of the same, this time featuring covers of Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy."
The latest addition to the YouTube music main screen is a carousel called 'Quick picks.' On first glance, it shows a bunch of songs you've likely listened to previously, but playing them actually starts a radio playlist full of similar sounds, so it's a great way to quickly start listening to a certain style of music without having to think too much.
YouTube Music is one of many Google apps that use their own share sheet on Android. Instead of adopting the default one, they have a custom design (Photos, News, Maps, YouTube, Twitter) and can include whatever targets they want. That's why you can see your contacts in Photos, for example. But YouTube Music is taking this privilege a little far now by adding icons for Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories among your apps.