Google Play Music All Access
June 21, 2015
5 minute read
Man, that’s a long name. Google really needs to shorten that.
Anyway, I’ve been using Google Music (this is what I will refer to GPMAA as) for the past month. I’m writing this as a short rambling review but don’t call it a review kind of thing.
In August I will be working really hard and so I decided I need to be able to stream unlimited music, as I was tired of buying/acquiring music. I also was sick of ads and shuffleplay on Spotify free. Spotify’s desktop app was also prone to weird UI lagging/freezing sometimes, which I don’t understand.
I went with Google Music for several reasons:
1. I can take my existing music library on my computer with me.
I had already been using Google Music on my phone and tablet and had uploaded my entire music library from my computer when they came out with the beta for free storage for up to 20,000 songs (now 50,000). While I could already plug in my phone or tablet in my computer and transfer music files by copying the files over (take that iTunes), it was much easier to do it with Google Music. I downloaded some of my music and whatever else I listened to infrequently I would just stream. It also functions as a backup of my music library, which is great.
With GPMAA I have access to Google Play’s entire (or most of) library, in addition to my own. So whatever songs Google Music doesn’t have, I can add to my library myself and play them. It’s also great because I can go through my artists and see if they’ve released anything new on Google Music and just click Add to Library, which is awesome. I discovered Two Steps From Hell’s latest album Battlecry this way, which is their best imo. And since I’ve got my favorite stuff already in there, I don’t have to go through and rebuild my library on GPM to mimic my own, like I had to do with Spotify.
2. I use Android and am a big Google fan
I’m a huge fan of Android and Google, and Google Play Music on Android has been my default music app since day one. Paying for All Access was just natural. I don’t like Spotify’s app that much.
3. Contextual playlists
I didn’t discover these until after I started my free trial of Google Music, but on the homescreen they have a section with automatic playlists based on the day, time of day, and some pre-defined activities. These are really helpful for discovering new music, or when I’m in a ‘don’t care, just play some music’ sort of mood.
Spotify has a much more vast auto playlist selection though. I wish I could sort through all the different activities in Google Music regardless of time of day, and make radio stations based on them.
4. Music Discovery
Google Music is a lot more music discovery-focused than Spotify in my opinion. Spotify hides new music it thinks I would like under a Discovery tab, Google Music shows it all on the same page, underneath what I played or added recently. It also has a “I’m feeling lucky” button for making a random radio station and playing it. This is awesome when I don’t know what I want to listen to, and most of the time the track selection fits together perfectly.
I just want to take a moment to mention how freaking awesome Google’s track matching is, no matter if it’s something I uploaded or on Google Play, they always manage to play something that fits the genre or has a very similar musical style.
Google Music also has an Explore section, which is useful, however for me it has too much rap.
Google Music’s radio stations are great too. You can make a radio station out of any artist, like Pandora, or even a single track, and then save that radio station’s tracks as a playlist.
Google Music does have a few downsides compared to Spotify. The big one for me is that I can’t save music offline from the web app, but I can on Android. I can see why Google doesn’t allow you to do it on the web app, because we could easily steal music that way I guess. Maybe they’ll come up with some way to do it in the future. Spotify’s desktop app has that feature.
Another thing that really isn’t a downside is that you can’t make collaborative playlists like you can with Spotify and have people add music to those playlists. And if anyone shares a Spotify playlist you can’t add it to Google Music, which is fine and I don’t expect that to be a feature. Would be nice though. You can share Google Music playlists however.
Another downside that I don’t really care about is that Google Music doesn’t have last.fm support, but last.fm is a dying service imo and while I thought it was cool for a while, I really don’t use it anymore.
Google Play Music All Access is awesome, especially if you’re an Android user and/or hate Spotify, like I do.
I have been using Google Music exclusively since I started my subscription. I haven’t opened my desktop music app (MusicBee for those wondering) since. It’s just so nice having everything the same on both Android and my computer.
Part of the reason why I started my subscription is that I was spending $30-$50 a month in buying music albums, so spending $10 a month instead is actually saving money for me.