Make no mistake about it, I’ve had my hangups with YouTube Music and Google’s decision to force feed it to all the satisfied Google Play Music users out there. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you are replacing a viable service with a new service, the new service should do everything – EVERYTHING – that the already-working, already-adopted service currently does. With YouTube Music, that just hasn’t been the case at all.
From Bluetooth issues, to Chromecast issues, to playback issues, YouTube Music has been inferior to Google Play Music in far too many ways. When it was just a new experiment, that wasn’t a huge deal. The minute Google chose to pull the plug on Google Play Music and make YouTube Music their flagship music offering, the gloves came off. It was at that point that Google’s new music streaming service started coming under scrutiny, and that scrutiny was warranted.
Things have been changing recently, however, and as Google Play Music begins its final exit, it seems Google is getting preparations in line for the big replacement. Just last week I wrote a post cheering on the continuing efforts to make YouTube Music less frustrating and I’ve stood by that opinion ever since. For better or worse, I’ve stayed put with YouTube Music and plan to ride it out from here.
There are still issues, but Google is fixing things
One failing YouTube Music had that I didn’t even realize was the inability to cast uploaded music from the app for free users. For a few reasons, I didn’t even realize this was a limitation. First, I’ve been a premium subscriber for years, reaching all the way back to the YouTube Red days. As soon as they bundled ad-free YouTube and the full Google Play Music subscriptions together, I was in and I’ve kept it ever since. Second, being a long-time music streaming subscriber, I’ve largely moved away from purchasing music and uploading it for listening and posterity. Instead, I’ve gone all-in on the monthly fee for a nearly-unlimited music experience and haven’t looked back.
With my listening habits, I never gave much thought to the ability or inability to cast my own, personal library. Not everyone is like me, however, and many users like keeping their personally-owned music library with them. Google Play was great for this as a free place where people could store up to 50,000 songs and YouTube Music upped the ante to 100,000 songs. Pretty sweet, right?
Well, the problem with YouTube Music up to this point was the fact that uploaded music could be listened to by non-Premium subscribers, but could not be cast to external speakers. So, as a free users of YouTube Music, if you were listening to one of your 100,000 personal, uploaded tracks, you’d better be prepared to listen on your device or with headphones. This was not a limitation with Google Play Music, and its been a thorn in many users’ sides as the end of Play Music approaches.
Fear not, however, as YouTube Music has seemingly cured yet another of its ills and Google now allows all users to cast all their uploaded music regardless of whether or not they pay for YouTube Premium or not. While this isn’t a change that is going to affect a vast majority of users, it is a clear sign that Google is getting some of the final pieces in place for YouTube Music to be the proper replacement of Google Play Music. After all, YouTube Music is now the default audio player for Android. You can’t exactly have your stock music player incapable of doing standard music player things, can you?
Don’t mistake this for me saying YouTube Music is perfect. I’ll continue to sound the alarm about the missing cast functionality from the web player, but it is really feeling like Google is listening to complaints and fixing small issues with YouTube Music left and right these days. As a big company that doesn’t always respond quickly to user frustrations, this is a nice change of pace recently with YouTube Music and one that, frankly, many users just needed.