Google Play Music for Android: Daily App Pick

BreakingModern — Back in May of 2011 at Google IO, Google announced Music Beta, a way for us to upload 20,000 of your favorite songs to a Google server and then stream those tunes to any Android device. It was everything we have come to love from beta testing new Google stuff — clunky and full of bugs. But when it worked, it was like the scales fell from our eyes and we saw a better way to listen to music; a way to keep our vast libraries organized and synced across all our new devices. I love it. Here’s why.

Google Play Music Listen Now

Googols of Music (well, not quite)

Here we are, damn near finished with 2014, and Music Beta has evolved into roughly 22 million songs available in about 34 countries. It’s called something else, too: Google Play Music for Android (and iOS), and it’s the only way I listen to music now.

The app itself is free, as is the uploading of 20,000 of your own songs. There is, however, an All Access subscription that gives you unfettered access to those 22 million songs. If you were lucky enough to get the All Access subscription back when it was $7.99 a month, you’re one stoked listener. But, even at the current $9.99 price point, it’s money well spent.

Google Play Music Library View

As of this writing, I’ve uploaded 13,211 out of a possible 20,000 songs to the server. But, with continued use, I’ve found that Play Music consistently has what I’m looking for, and it’s in my personal library with the click of a button or tap of the screen. The recommendation engine is getting very good as well. I’ve discovered a ton of new hip-hop I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise, all suggestions based on what I have in my library and what I listen to the most.

Sharing Specifics

Of course the downside to this model is that you don’t actually own any of the music provided by All Access. The tracks are yours until you cancel your subscription. You also can’t really give your friends copies of music like you used to. You can share songs with them, and make public playlists to share, but if they don’t’ have an All Access account, they will get to listen for free maybe once. Then they’ll need to purchase the tunes. The sharing features really work best in a group of people who are all using Play Music All Access.

You can cache songs to your device, but if you let your All Access account lapse, anything you have added from the Play Music library will be gone. This doesn’t count for music you have actually purchased through Play Music or uploaded yourself.

The latest version of the app for Android is pretty amazing. I run it on a Moto X and the usage is completely fluid. Let’s take a look at some of the screens:

When you open up Play Music after uploading songs or subscribing via All Access, you’ll see something like this, below. Notice the Chromecast icon, magnifying glass for search functionality and the headphone-meets-hamburger three-line menu sign. (Have we settled on what this is called yet? Anyone?)

Google Play Music main Screen

Tap on the headphones and that will reveal the rest of your options.

Browsing is done by genre, artist, album or songs. On Verizon’s LTE it loads fairly quickly considering the content, but for best results, you’ll want to cache music on your device or listen over Wi-Fi. I’m not too worried about the data consumption, because I’m one of those geeks still desperately holding onto my unlimited data plan. There are settings to make sure streaming doesn’t chew through your data plan, if you’re watching what you eat.

Google Play Music Playlist Viewplaylistview

There is also great playlist support on Play Music. I love how everything syncs, whether it’s on the desktop, tablet or smartphone. It’s also super-easy to add songs to playlists, no matter what device you use.

Give Google Play Music a try — it’s available for Android in the Play Store and also on Apple iOS. If you like it, don’t forget to subscribe to All Access. Want an Easter egg? Search for Mat Lee in Play Music.

For BMod, I’m .

Have a great app you want to share? Email it to apps@BreakingModern.com.

All Screenshots:

Header Image Credit: Vienna – Detail of a Baroque Piano Keyboard – 9539” by Jorge Royan — own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Mat Lee

Author: Mat Lee

Based in Kalispell, MT, Mat Lee is a senior contributor at aNewDomain.net. He writes hip hop, makes podcasts, and dabbles in gaming in his spare time. Follow Mat Lee on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.

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2 Comments

  1. Gina Smith

    This is an awesome review, Mat.

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