YouTube Music being the default music app, that’s great news for Play Music users.
Last week, Google announced that it will be YouTube Music, not Google Play Music, which comes preinstalled as the default music app on all Android phones. Many people have commented that this is terrible news for Play Music users and yet another nail in a coffin that must now look like an iron maiden.
In fact, as a long-time GPM user, this news encouraged me. Now I can stop worrying so much about this absurd device limit every time I get a new phone!
For years, one of the first things I did on a freshly set up phone I received for review was to turn off Google Play Music so that it didn’t accidentally allow itself. GPM has an authorization limit of ten devices, which is pretty normal, and a deauthorization limit of four devices, which is anything but normal. What made it worse was that while YouTube Music only counted the devices you download music from offline, Google Play Music allowed any device you installed the app on, whether you are streaming or downloading.
If you hit the deauthentication limit, Google Support sometimes resets your device’s limit, but often it doesn’t. And if it wasn’t, you better hope your current phones don’t die, because you can’t add more for month. Getting kicked out of your own music at $ 10 a month for the privilege was just ten kinds of madness, and it’s a lot less worrisome now.
This next section may be wishful thinking on my part – I’m a hopeless dreamer, after all – but YouTube Music being the default should also mean that we’re seeing more and more effort to prepare it for global use, what YTM can’t really say is now.
YouTube Music is available in just over 70 countries right now, which seems like a lot until you remember Apple Music is available in 115 and Deezer is available in 182. Aside from worldwide availability, YouTube Music is still a hot mess and 18 months in this refresh you can’t even mix it up while streaming, not to mention moving away from parity to the features we need before libraries and Google Play Music users can be migrated to the service.
YouTube Music is the service I use the most these days because I’ve changed my phone too often to risk burning a permission on anything lately, but also because it really does better than anyone in the music discovery industry and algorithms (at least for me) and their library is impossible to match. Basic service is good if you’re willing to live with its bugs, but it could be great once the service is truly stable and full.
My colleagues believe that feature parity is not going to happen, that GPM music locker users will get their music in a Drive folder and be redirected to YTM or the curb. I really hope they are wrong – because Google Play Music was the last of its kind and I don’t want to go back to having two separate libraries for purchased and streamed music – but YouTube Music being the app that more people are using and reporting issues with is the next step in getting YouTube Music to where it needs to be.
Or it’s the next nail in Google’s coffin as being utterly and eternally incapable of delivering a quality music experience.