If you’ve not heard elsewhere already, Google Play Music is on the way out later in 2020 and YouTube Music will completely replace it as the de facto solution for Google’s music streaming service. I’ve been in the camp that has been quite hesitant to make the move for a few reasons. For me, the lack of a simple, built-in cast functionality in the web player is a big turn off. Not only is this a Google music service, it is based on YouTube! Those two things together should mean casting was built in from the ground up.
I digress. You can read this post if you’d like to hear more ranting about such things, but for now we’ll move on. YouTube Music has grown into a pretty decent service with a few odd behaviors here and there. I’m not a fan of my listening history and video viewing history being one list, but I’m hopeful they’ll separate down the road. I’m getting more and more used to the app’s layout and functionality and, as I’m forcing myself to use it more, I’m not hating on it as much.
In the latest news, it looks like Google is beginning to roll out the playlist and library migration for YouTube Music from Google Play Music as promised well over a year ago at this point. For some users, a banner is appearing in the YouTube Music app that will start the process for you and bring over all the songs, albums, playlists, purchases, uploads, personalized tastes, recommendations, and your liked and disliked songs. It’s a fully-featured migration that no one in our office has had the chance to try out (we’re still waiting to get the nod), but will as soon as possible. You can also head to https://music.youtube.com/transfer if you want to check for yourself and see if your account has already been selected for the migration.
All of that is great and I’m glad to see Google finally make good on this huge transition step. But no good deed goes unpunished, right? Along for the ride with this migration is a ‘feature’ from Google Play Music that is/was literally the worst: device authorization limitations. The way Google Play Music has operated for years in this respect is infuriating. Users can sign in on a total of 10 devices at a time with a single account and then can only de-authorize 4 of those per year. This limitation takes effect on new phones, tablets, Chromebooks and additionally hits you when you’ve factory reset your phone and re-install the Google Play Music app.
That’s right: if you factory-reset your phone for a technical issue with Android (as is very normal to help solve software problems with the OS that Google manages and distributes) and then log in again afterwards to Google Play Music, you’ve just registered yet another device of your total of 10. Once you hit your limit, there is no warning and you simply get an error that no other devices can be de-authorized. Sure, I’ve been able to hop in a chat with Google and get this cleared because – no surprise here – I go through a lot of devices in a year, but the multiple “one time courtesies” I’ve been extended don’t make up for the sheer ridiculousness of the process. I fully understand a 10-device limit, but I should be able to manage what devices are or aren’t authorized without penalty.
And, guess what? That lovely process has followed along with YouTube Music. You can read right here the policy from Google’s support page for YouTube Music and it states that this pointless system is still in place with YouTube Music. I have no idea why this is in place or why Google is choosing to handle it this way. There is a tiny bit of silver lining in the fact that you can still at least listen to streaming music if you hit that device cap, but with YouTube Music downloading music automatically in the background out of the box, that’s not much of a consolation.
In the end, Google needs to change this policy to do something more akin to what nearly every other media streaming company does: limit the number of logged-in devices that can stream and download content and let the user choose which of those devices can keep using the service. I can’t understand any scenario where the existing policy makes sense for actual users. What I can see is another reason for users to throw their hands up at a ridiculous limitation and simply move on to another service like Spotify. Here’s hoping that Google decides this is a foolish move and changes it as more users migrate to YouTube Music.
VIA: Android Police