Google Play to YouTube Music: What You Need to Know

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YouTube Music Google Play

Google Play is on the way out and YouTube Music is on the way in. Here’s what you need to know before the transition is in full swing.

Even in the music streaming world, the status quo is constantly changing. Just around the time, Apple gave iTunes its final farewell in its October OS update, Android 10 parted ways with Google Play as their default music player. In its place is YouTube Music, Google’s streaming platform of the future, which boasts the world’s biggest music library!

But with all these changes, there’s been a lot of confusion as to the relationship between Google Play and YouTube Music. Are they merging? Is Google killing its own original streaming platform? Which one is really worth subscribing to? 

A Brief History of Google Play and YouTube Music

Since its launch in 2011, Google Play has offered users curated playlists, radio stations, and access to their favorite podcasts. In 2015, YouTube Red was released, effectively giving viewers a premium YouTube experience free of ads, and loaded up with exclusive original content. If you subscribed to YouTube Red, you also got a complimentary subscription to Google Play (and vice versa).

Here’s where things get tricky. In 2018, YouTube music was released as Google’s new push, despite an underperforming Google Play, to compete with Apple Music and Spotify. Amidst the shake-up, YouTube Red became YouTube Premium, and Google Play remained right where it was, destined to be replaced at some point. 

More recently, leading up to the Android 10 update, Google has been gradually migrating Google Music’s features to YouTube Music, seemingly equipping it to be their sole streaming hub of the future. As 2020 promises to be the streaming era’s biggest year yet, Google is currently handling two streaming platforms, though it’s only a matter of time that Google Play will see the same fate as iTunes.

Better With a Bundle

By now, most of us know the advantages of a premium streaming service over a free one: no ads, downloadable playlists, and unlimited background listening. YouTube Music Premium is no different. But when it comes to offering access to the world’s most popular video streaming site, YouTube Music has a leg up on its competition through its bundled deals.

Starting at $9.99 YouTube Music Premium you get unlimited use of YouTube’s music library and all their features. At $11.99 you can get all of that plus a YouTube Premium account which extends to their endless streams of video content. So while Spotify and Apple Music can take pride in their massive reach of loyal subscribers, YouTube Music is setting itself apart by embracing its association with YouTube’s features.

Is Google Play Music Dead?

As of the posting of this article, no. But all signs are pointing to Google Play’s eventual demise. 

For artists, Google Play has already removed its artist’s hub, which previously allowed artists to upload, sell, and track their own music through Google Play. Though it has yet to show up on YouTube music’s platform, it’s bound to soon. YouTube Music has already incorporated most of Google Play’s most popular features, including its free 50,000 song music locker!

YouTubeMusic App
YouTube Music is set to become Google’s premiere music streaming service.

(Courtesy of 9to5Google)

Transitioning From Google Play to YouTube Music

Our music collections are precious, so moving from one streaming service to another offers the potential for a lot of tunes to be lost. It’s worth noting that at the moment, the two streaming apps not integrated with one another at all. So all your likes, playlists, and search histories on Google Play won’t show up on your YouTube Music page.

It’s frustrating, we know. But like any other change in habitat, YouTube Music is definitely worth dipping your toes in to get a feel for its features and layout. T. Jay Fowler, YouTube’s head of music confirmed in a tweet that YouTube Music is working on migrating all songs and playlists over from Google Play. 

Subscription changes are another story. With three intertwining services running simultaneously, duplicate subscriptions are bound to occur. It’s best to note that for now, YouTube Music shares a subscription with Google Play AND YouTube Premium, while Google Play and YouTube Premium have no relationship whatsoever. More details on the eventual full migration from Google Play to YouTube will be revealed throughout the year, so for now, patience seems to be the best solution for Google Play users who are skeptical about losing their music collections.

What About Podcasts?

While Apple’s podcast app has become a reliable one-stop-shop for podcast listeners, Google’s own solution is spread throughout a scattering of apps that offer podcast streaming, including Google Play, Google Home, Google Assistant, and the Google Podcasts App. 

YouTube Music has made no clear indication of whether they will begin streaming podcasts, though it seems that the new Google Podcasts app is destined to be their long-term podcast home. So, for Google Play users holding out on YouTube Music, this is definitely good news!

Moving Forward

While all the dates and answers aren’t entirely concrete yet, we can gather that Google has big things planned for their YouTube Music platform. Sticking with YouTube’s steady branding seems to be a big plus for Google, but can their new platform catch up to the dominant success of Spotify and Apple Music? While it remains to be determined, the streaming wars of 2020 are bound to deliver some innovative new features and packages for music lovers worldwide. For now, we can only stay tuned.

Suggested Continued Reading: Music Distribution: The Ultimate Guide To Selling Your Music

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