We’ve known the transition would begin at some point, but if you are like me, you probably aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to Google Play Music. To be perfectly honest, Play Music has lingered as the best option for Google-centric users as it has long been tied in with premium subscriptions to whatever Google is calling the ad-free YouTube experience today. With the family options and added bonus of a more premium YouTube, it was always a no-brainer for my family.
However, that isn’t the case for A TON of other users and services like Amazon Music and Apple Music have all carved out their respective places in the market with their core contingencies. That’s not to mention Spotify who, by most measures, is the streaming music king with users on all sides from every possible ecosystem camp. With all these other options out there and doing quite well, Google has been planning a move to the newer YouTube Music as its main and only music service for quite some time now. This latest move isn’t a move from that objective: it is simply a step closer to that eventual reality.
It isn’t confusing to see why Google is shifting strategies, honestly. With YouTube being one of its largest properties and services, finding a way to capitalize on that audience should be a way to get more users on board with the service in a relatively quick manner. When you have a user base as large as YouTube’s, it only makes sense to take advantage of it. Google’s latest move in this upcoming change is the addition of the YouTube Music app as the default installed app in Android 10, taking the place of the outgoing Google Play Music as the primary music service on Android.
This doesn’t mean you can’t still install and use Google Play Music on your device, but it does point to the beginning of the end for the older service. As it turns out, it seems that users currently leveraging Google Play Music won’t notice anything different as Android won’t wipe out Google Play Music or anything like that. Instead, this move seems to be aimed at users who haven’t landed on a music streaming service yet. Those users, upon switching to Android, will now have YouTube Music as their default choice out of the box.
Google is planning a tool that will allow for the bulk move of all your playlists, music and general setup from Google Play Music over to YouTube Music before they pull the plug on Play Music. We haven’t seen that option emerge yet, so it stands to reason that Play Music isn’t on the chopping block just yet. But make no mistake: this is the beginning of the end.
I’ve previously voiced my main concern keeping me from switching my usage over to YouTube Music, and that is lack of proper casting functionality from the web player. I’ll repeat here that it is beyond ridiculous that this trivial addition is missing at this point in the game, but for some reason it is. Once Google remedies this issue, I’m ready to herald YouTube Music as the way to go for music streaming if you find yourself in the Google universe. With the added bonus of ad-free, premium YouTube subscription, YouTube Music will be a great service once all the final wrinkles are ironed out. For the time being, I’m staying put with Play Music, though.